M.Arch students take first place in Hult Prize Competition

Architecture students take first place in Hult Prize Competition

Ellen Duff (M.Arch.’15) and Dan Sebaldt (M.Arch.’15), along with Devan Rostorfer (M.S.,SNRE) and U-M alumnus Barrett Randolph, have won the Hult Prize competition at University of Michigan.

The Hult Prize is a crowdsourcing platform for social good and identifies and launches disruptive and catalytic social ventures that aim to solve the planet’s most pressing challenges. This year, the Hult Prize is focused around finding solutions for the millions of families in urban areas around the world that are affected by a lack of access to early childhood education – a challenge selected by President Bill Clinton.

The team identified a solution to President Clinton’s early childhood education challenge. Their concept, “Porta Play,” will create an easy step-by-step manual for playschool teachers to create toys and other classroom supplies from recycled materials as part of an interactive, play-based curriculum. The goal is to engage teachers in co-creating innovative products to meet their in-class needs by leveraging a base of the pyramid business model that focuses on mutual value creation.

Porta Play Team Members (from left to right), Dan Sebaldt, Ellen Duff, and Devan Rostorfer (Barrett Randolph not pictured).

After winning the U-M competition, the team qualified to participate at the regional finals against 300 other teams on March 13 and 14, 2015 in either Boston or San Francisco. If the team wins the regional finals, they will move to a summer business incubator, receiving mentorship, advisory and strategic planning. In September 2015, the annual Hult Prize winning team will be selected and awarded $1,000,000 by President Clinton.

The Hult Prize Competition was named one of the top five ideas changing the world by President Clinton and TIME Magazine. This was the first time the Hult Prize competition was held at Michigan since its inception in 2009 and it was hosted by the Ross School of Business’ Net Impact Club.