What is optiMize?

optiMize helps students create self-directed projects that aim to make a positive impact. Housed in the University of Michigan College of LSA and operated in partnership between a student organization and full-time staff, optiMize engages more than 600 student participants working on more than 200 projects each year through its Social Innovation Challenge. Participants range from freshmen to PhD candidates and come from all 19 schools and colleges at Michigan.


How does the Social Innovation Challenge work?

In October, students submit a project, idea, or problem to solve at optiMizeMi.org. For five months, optiMize provides skill-building workshops, community building events, and access to experienced mentors. This mentorship component engages more than 100 university alumni and friends from a wide range of backgrounds. At the end of the Challenge, optiMize awards up to $20,000 for selected teams to spend their summer fully dedicated to the continued development of their project. This year we’ll award $250,000 in total.


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