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Announcing our Higher Ed Community Champions!

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We’re excited to introduce you to Gavin Cosgrave and Patricio Toussaint, our volunteer Community Champions for the Higher Ed Challenge. They’ll be supporting the community in the Research and Idea phases of the challenge by sharing insights, building on our contributions and making connections between community members.

From Left: Gavin Cosgrave and Patricio Toussaint

Gavin Cosgrave is a high school senior in Davis, California, who’s currently going through the college application process. As a Top Idea winner from the Youth Employment challenge, Gavin launched the Preflight program to bring real-world professionals and design-thinking into high school classrooms.

Patricio Toussaint is currently an MBA candidate at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. During the Financial Empowerment Challenge, Patricio inspired our OpenIDEO community with his insights and ideas. We’re excited to have him onboard as the Community Champion for this challenge!

What excites you the most about the Higher Ed Challenge?

Gavin: As a high school senior applying to colleges, I am excited to work with the community to develop solutions that I could actually use this year! Applying for financial aid can be a tricky and complicated process, so I am looking forward to gathering insights from my classmates to help alleviate some of the stress that students and parents face. There’s a tremendous amount of scholarships and programs to help pay for college and a tremendous amount of need, but not many bridges to connect the two. College is an incredible experience that every student deserves to have, and we need to work to make sure cost isn’t a barrier.

Patricio: The Higher Ed Challenge excites me because I’ve loved working with the OpenIDEO community members and I’m looking forward to reading the different perspectives from each OpenIDEO member. I’ve been involved since 2005 in a project that aims to transform the lives of rural community members through higher education. I am really looking forward to changing the lives of low-income students and giving them hope for a better life!

Share with us some insights you gained from your experiences on OpenIDEO.

Patricio: Through OpenIDEO, I’ve learned to receive critiques to help improve my initial ideas. I’ve learned that there are many perspectives from the OpenIDEO community - their feedback definitely helped improve not only my idea but also some of the ways I approached my concept. I’ve learned the process of how an idea can be transformed to a tangible solution!

Gavin: Support from the OpenIDEO community has given me the confidence to implement my own ideas. It is incredibly inspiring to solve problems with other passionate people. The biggest problems in our world require open and inclusive collaboration to solve, and OpenIDEO provides this framework.

Do you have any advice for newcomers to OpenIDEO?

Gavin: I have always been amazed at the encouragement and questions from the community. Just get out there and submit your ideas — you’ll be surprised at how far the community will help you take them!

Patricio: Be yourself, learn that nothing is personal and everybody’s goal is to try to improve your idea. Help others by giving feedback and let them know what you think. Be ready to meet people who have similar interests as you! And you will meet incredibly creative people! Share your ideas with other members and have fun. In the end, OpenIDEO should be treated as your family and we should help reach the goal of the challenge the best way possible!

Join Patricio, Gavin and the rest of the OpenIDEO community on the Higher Ed Challenge!

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