Stanford, Berkeley Students Share Networking Prize

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Award recognizes outstanding student achievement in using Web 2.0 technologies to solve global problems.

The winners of the 2011 Gantha Award were announced on November 19, during the Big Game between Stanford and UC Berkeley, by the World Mind Network. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in using social network Mightybell.com, together with the protocols of the World Mind Network, to create a web-based project that has the capacity to engage a large number of students in planetary improvement. 'Gantha' means 'sacred bell' in Sanskrit. The original plan was to award one prize to either a Stanford or Cal student, but two efforts were so superior that the judges decided to award two Grand Prizes, both including an iPad 2 and a Fair Trade handmade temple bell (Gantha) from India.

Mightybell's vision is to take social networking past its traditional functions of sharing information and media with others towards creating 'experiences' which can be developed sequentially with other individuals and groups. The World Mind Network is an international NGO which explores the use of popular Web 2.0 technologies to create fresh approaches to global issues.

One winner is Christopher Ackman, a senior from UC Berkeley majoring in Politicial Economy. His Environmental Media Project aims to unite all sustainability efforts on campus. The plan is to create a template whose mission and utility can be realized at other universities. It is designed to meet the needs of all students involved in this effort, fostering collaboration in making the world more sustainable.

The other winner is Anna Ponting, a junior majoring in Urban Studies at Stanford. Her project is designed to describe and evaluate various approaches towards creating the Smart Cities of the future, cities which use the latest ICT technologies to make cities greener and more livable. She points out that change must come from the top—through national, regional, and local government support of ICT, and private investment in developing the new technologies—but also from the bottom, incorporating the expertise of citizens, taking advantage of crowdsourcing, and molding smart city initiatives directly to the needs of a community. She explores the example of Intellistreets-- a concept developed by Michigan-based tech firm Illuminating Concepts, which uses hundreds of embedded sensors in street lights to create a Smart Grid which is instantly responsive to the needs of different neighborhoods.

Next up for the World Mind Network is Occupy Innovation-- a program designed to build upon the energy initiated by various Occupy movements and channel it into several student-led Web-based practical projects aimed at solving real world problems.
For more information contact worldmindnetwork(at)gmail(dot)com

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John Toomey
The World Mind Network
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Anna Chu Lin
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