Cake craver Raphaëlle Debenedetti sat down Natasha Noman, GS’13, of the team “Peace of Cake,” which is representing Columbia against approximately 70 other universities in a case challenge called “Thought For Food.” Other group members include Nick Chiosie, GS’14, Clava Brodsky, CC’13, Rob Grabow, SIPA’11, and Barbara Magid, SIPA/School of Public Health’12. Vote for them before May 10!
Bwog: What’s this competition?
Peace of Cake (POC): Columbia University is being represented by a team of outstandingly driven, handsome and occasionally witty students in a very popular and competitive case competition called “Thought For Food.” Its mission is to come up with creative solutions to address world hunger and global food security. Our team is called “Peace of Cake” (ergo, levels of wit are questionable) and we are competing against approximately 70 other universities.
Bwog: What’s your idea?
POC: We’ve come up with a Karma App, where you can offset shameful things like cutting in line or watching “The Princess Diaries,” by making a small donation of a few dollars to a hunger-related charity. Naturally, we will win. But…SHAMELESS PROMOTING, we need help and votes! You have to click on our team page link and “like” it, as one “like” = one vote. [Popularity=efficiency?] And voting closes
tomorrow, Tuesday 7th May 10! Only five teams advance to the next round (largely determined by number of votes) and the winner receives $10,000 as seed money to launch their idea. So we’re really excited.
B: So… what is Karma to you?
POC: As I wise young woman in Bhutan once said: “Cause and Effect.” Brilliant.
B: How did you come up with this idea?
POC: We might just be an unethical bunch, but our team (GS, CC, Alumni and SIPA students) felt that we – and people we know – commit tiny transgressions all the time, little things we feel guilty about, and the Karma App is a fun way to offset the less-than-ideal stuff we’ve done. It’s prefect for Catholics and Jews (of which I am both).
B: Does this mean people are motivated to do more bad things?
POC: Probably. But it feeds hungry people – in which case I would encourage shameful transgressions such as watching the aforementioned Princess Diaries. Alone. With a tub of ice cream…I might just be describing my Saturday night.
B: If I commit a really bad offense do I owe more money?
POC: Yup! There are corresponding suggested donations for each offense on the app. eg barking at a cat = 50 cents and not giving up your subway seat to a tired, middle-aged lady with five bags = $2.
B: In the past three days, how much money would you owe? Please give concrete example.
POC: $1,356, exactly and approximately. If I provide examples, this interview wouldn’t be posted.
B: Do you think you’ll owe more money after your trip to Berlin (part of the prize), where the finalists present their business plans?
POC: I already owe so much on a daily basis, I’m not sure I’ll notice much of a difference.
B: Would this help with finals in any way?
POC: Absolutely. With every dollar you donate, you get moved up a letter grade.
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