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LBJ Students Pitch Idea for Improving Civic Engagement at Fels National Public Policy Challenge

BY: Justin Sykes

Instead of relaxing on the beach, LBJ School students Christie Wright, Lance McNeill and Miha Vindis spent their spring break preparing a proposal for the Fels National Public Policy Challenge in Philadelphia. Their idea: build a comprehensive online platform to increase civic activity among young adults.

LBJ Students Lance McNeill, Christie Wright and Miha Vindis
“The reason we’re doing this is because we really believe that we need to increase civic engagement, particularly among the 18 to 29 year old demographic,” said Vindis. “According to the Annette Strauss Institute, those aged 18 to 29 lag behind their elders in almost every measure of civic engagement.”

Concerned about the lack of civic participation among their own generation, the team designed an innovative online platform that combines crowdsourcing and “gamification” to better identify, prioritize and tackle local issues.

The idea grew out of McNeill’s interest in using crowdfunding to find community solutions and an article Vindis wrote for The Baines Report about the impact of digital games. They also received assistance from LBJ School faculty including Professor Angela Evans, Admiral Bobby Inman, and Dean Chandler Stolp as well as the Annette  Strauss Institute.

“It evolved into something that was more innovative than what any one of us could have done,” said McNeill. “It was a great collaborative effort.”

The Fels National Public Policy Challenge, now in its third year, brings together social entrepreneurs from top policy schools across the country. Each team p