CS for Social Change is a student initiative at Brown University focused on providing a platform where students from STEM and non-STEM fields can come together to create an interdisciplinary dialogue about the societal impacts of technology, provide students with resources to begin their own social impact initiatives, and empower students to leverage technology for social good by facilitating collaborations between students and outside partners. Our mission is to promote dialogue and action within the intersection of technology and social good.
We aim to provide students the experience of a technical internship within the framework of a class. CS for Social Change Studio, or CS1951I is a 15-week course where students can work directly with a social good venture or non-profit in order to gain real-world experience working on a social impact project. The class aims to encourage students to leverage technology for social good by inspiring action, facilitating collaboration, and forging pathways towards global change. Additionally, we want to give our partners the ability to leverage the technical ability of qualified students without concerns over compensation.
Teams of 3-4 students, generally within their 3rd-4th undergraduate year, will work directly with project mentors from non-profits and social impact ventures in order to help bring a project to completion. The course is pass/fail and a student’s success in the course will be dependent on feedback from project mentors on their performance. Topics range from prototyping, inclusivity, to civic media.
Students will work in a studio environment to iteratively design, build, and test technical projects in partnership with different social change organizations. Students will be placed in small teams to collaboratively work on projects that will range from, for example, developing a chatbot to aid community engagement to conducting geospatial data analytics. Through the course, we will also reflect on our positionality and ethics in engaging in social impact work and what it practically means to leverage technology to create social change on an everyday basis.
The course website can be found here. CS1951I is directed by Professor Ugur Cetintemel and assisted by Nikita Ramoji and Elaine Jiang.