Blog series on how to achieve success, bring P2P ‘big ideas’ to life (No. 4)

Livia Hauck, American winning P2P student, on patience, realistic expectations

As manager of the Peer to Peer: Challenging Extremism and Peer to Peer: Facebook Global Digital Challenge programs, EdVenture Partners estimates that around 25 percent of P2P teams around the world have continued their work beyond the competition period. By pushing back on online hate, prejudice and extremism — the goals of the P2P programs — some of these student teams have become so compelled with their work that they have gone on to form permanent organizations on their university campus, and some have formed NGOs. Some have gone on to receive grant funding and are still developing educational curriculum, mobile apps, games… and the list goes on.

In this blog series, students and faculty from award-winning teams share advice and lessons learned, in their own words, about how to move a P2P campaign to the next level.

This edition features Olivia “Livia” Hauck, who is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, New York. While at RIT, her P2P team, It’s Time: EX Out Extremism (ExOut), won first place at the Peer to Peer: Challenging Extremism spring 2016 finals held at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. Since winning first place in her P2P semester, Livia has joined EdVenture Partners as a Program Coordinator.

(1) What was it like to return home after winning P2P? 

There was a lot of excitement, after speaking with and hearing from so many accomplished individuals at the competition we felt very motivated to continue our work. We also received a lot of opportunities after winning, such as speaking engagements, interviews, and awards; it was all very hectic.  

(2) What were your next steps? 

Our next steps were to find out who from our group wanted to continue on with the project. We also wanted to start looking into the best ways to continue with the project. For the time being, until we could become our own nonprofit, we found it was best to apply for a grant through our alma mater, RIT.

(3) How did you go about locating funding sources (like the DHS grant), receiving honors, such as the Fight Against Online Hate Award? Any other accolades that have exceptional stories around them?

We heard about the grant opportunity down in D.C. at the competition, we knew right away that was something we wanted to go ahead and try for. Finding out we got the grant after all the hard work preparing our proposal was an exceptionally exciting moment. Probably the only moment that topped it was receiving UNESCO’s Fight Against Online Hate Award. Three of us, our professor, and our families attended a private gala at the MET in NYC to accept the award on behalf of our team. The best part about the gala wasn’t accepting our award but instead listening to all the stories and success of those also receiving awards. We were beyond humbled and again felt a renewed sense of drive to continue our work.

(4) What advice do you have for other teams who have become passionate about their work and would like to follow in your footsteps to continue their projects?

The biggest piece of advice I would have to offer would be to understand continuing on can be a very slow and drawn out process; patience is key and you have to keep pushing. Finding funding, and individuals who are willing to help you turn a project into an organization can be tricky, but it is all very doable if you have the motivation to stick with it.

(5) Any time management tips that allowed you to pursue this in addition to your other many responsibilities? 

I think it’s important to be realistic with your time and realize everything you are taking on when you decide to continue your campaign. You will no longer be working within a classroom bubble, with P2P budget funds or under the guidance of a Program Coordinator from EdVenture Partners. You will have to decide on a strong leader, develop a strong relationship with your team members, and ensure everyone on board is able to devote the necessary time needed to keep things moving in the right direction.

The other piece of advice I would give students is to not be afraid to take a break. Our team was all starting senior year, starting new jobs, or working very hard on some opportunities or side projects that had been presented to us. We started falling behind a lot on our social media pages and timeline of where we wanted to be. It was really hard for us to finally admit we needed to take a step back but instead of getting frustrated, we chose to take a break while we re-focus, re-brand, and eventually re-launch ExOut. Sometimes making a conscious decision as a team to taking a small hiatus while getting everything in order is better than trying to minimally maintain the social media accounts and hope you can skate by. The most important thing is to be confident in every choice you make, and allow each team member to provide their input before ultimately making a decision.

(6) What is next on the horizon for you / your team (professionally and as it relates to goals you’ve set for your P2P team’s continued work)?

Individually our four core members are all focused on advancing their careers in different areas while still staying a part of ExOut. Jessica Kellner has just graduated and is looking into jobs in both the CVE field as well as marketing. Kate Sudar works for an Advertising company in New York City managing her own accounts as well as working on ExOut’s rebranding. Kailun Jiiang is currently in China sharing ExOut’s mission internationally while working on securing her masters degree in nonprofit management. She plans to return to the states once she is finished. Lastly, I am focusing on helping my EVP student teams become successful in their own campaigns while continuing to work to increase my knowledge and experience in the CVE field.

As a team right now we are focused on securing an attorney to help us turn ExOut into a nonprofit organization once and for all. We are also working on putting together a new team that will specialize in different areas of extremism once we re-launch. Lastly, we are looking into the possibility of having students help with the grant and the educational materials once the money is awarded.

Peer to Peer (P2P)Stacey