Project Builder

Start Date: March 2020

Portfolio: Sustainable Student Impact

Stage: Scale

Summary + Problem Statement

The Project Builder is a toolkit guiding students to craft an individualized impact project for their community. It originated during the summer of 2020 when COVID-19 presented unprecedented challenges for families, institutions, companies, and, of course, students across the globe. In a survey of college students across the country, 35% of students learned that their summer internships were canceled, 24% of students were informed that their summer opportunity will be virtual, and 100% of students were crippled with uncertainty regarding the reality of their summer experience. In these trying times, student lives were turned upside down, and the conditions of the world’s most vulnerable communities intensified.


The Project Builder began as an antidote to this dilemma but has additionally grown to be a toolkit for students inspired to independently mobilize social impact in their own communities beyond the summer of 2020.

Project Elements


In an effort to provide more students with an important and meaningful opportunity to develop their skills and gain hands-on learning experience in social impact, the Beeck Center has created the Sustainable Student Impact (SSI) Project Builder. The SSI Project Builder is a roadmap to crafting an individualized impact project for your community and is split into 5 phases: 

  1. Define what community means to you. 
  2. Discover what work is being done in this community, and what issues it is currently facing. 
  3. Synthesize; develop ideas for initiatives, campaigns, and opportunities you can pursue to empower the community. 
  4. Design every step of your project.
  5. Develop your project, your schedule, and your impact!


This guide aims to provide students with an understanding of human-centered design and how to do community development with the community in mind. It is intentional about decolonizing social impact and incorporating anti-racist efforts into social impact. The Project Builder discourages the narrative that community problems can be solved in one summer project and instead encourages students to spend time learning about communities, the challenges they face, and what is already being done to mitigate them whilst interrogating your own identity, skillset, and potential contributions to the problem and the antidote. Through the SSI Project Builder, we hope to provide students with clarity around social impact, broadly, and potential career paths modeling social impact themes. Our goal is to show emerging change agents how their academics connect to real work and project implementation. While this guide serves to help you, a student interested in social impact work, self-direct a summer community research project, the Beeck Center has provided students with pre-recorded workshops on human-centered design, tips to secure mentorship, and resources for every step of the SSI Project Builder as additional and accessible means of support. 


How do you know if the SSI Project Builder is right for you?

  • Passionate about the impact space
  • Self-motivated and proactive worker
  • Disciplined and able to set personal goals and deadlines
  • Have 5-10 hours a week to dedicate to an impact project over the course of 2 months*

What resources will be provided for me by the Beeck Center? 

    • A description, accompanying resources, and example for each phase of the project builder
    • Pre-recorded workshop lectures on human-centered design
    • Educational materials (videos, articles, guides) for social impact leaders

*timeline is flexible and we encourage a longer  commitment

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headshot photo of Ashanee Kottage

Ashanee Kottage

Student Analyst, Sustainable Student Impact
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Franchesca Rybar

Program Manager
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