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Social Venture Think Tank

Fall 2021 Projects

The Social Venture Think Tank (SVTT) is a rigorous 10-week program that empowers students to use human-centered design to build new technological tools for Nashville-based non-profits. As a project consultant for a non-profit organization, students can gain valuable skills in project design and management, leadership, and collaboration. This program enables students to develop tools and capabilities that fulfill the needs of organizations working at the front lines of social, economic, and environmental change.

In partnership with Code for Nashville, coding support will begin in the fall and continue into spring and summer. Following the 10-week design program, SVTT teams will have the opportunity for continued collaboration throughout the year. This experience is available for immersion and independent study credits.

Applications for Fall 2021 are now closed.


Fall 2021 SVTT Meeting Dates

SVTT meets every Tuesday, 4:30pm5:45pm, starting September 14, 2021 until November 16, 2021, in the 3rd Floor Lounge of the Wond’ry (Room 300). The hybrid cohort meets 5:15pm6:30pm.

Session Structure:

In-person cohort                             4:30 – 4:45pm    Program Content

In-person cohort                             4:45 – 5:15pm    Think Tank Team Co-creation

In-person & Hybrid Cohorts           5:15 – 5:45pm    Speaker

Hybrid Cohort                                  5:45 – 6:00pm    Program Content

Hybrid Cohort                                  6:00 – 6:30pm    Thank Tank Team Co-creation

Teams will have regular contact with client partners and each other outside of session time in addition to project supporting assignments. The total time commitment averages 3-5 hours a week.

2021-22 SVTT Partners & Projects


Adaptive wear for a more inclusive world is a dynamic topic in the fashion industry.  Addressing the needs of people with disabilities who have difficulties getting dressed, while considering sustainability, practicality, personal style, and affordability, presents a unique challenge, which we need your help in addressing. In partnership with the Curb Center’s Art of Healing Exposition, Alex Sargent Capps, & The Wond’ry at Vanderbilt, students will collaborate to generate innovative solutions for individuals with disabilities.


In alignment with the Zero Waste Master Plan approved by the Mayor’s office, Nashville seeks to reduce the amount of solid waste it sends to landfills by 90% over the next 30 years. This plan has identified construction and demolition as a material stream with high potential impact for diversion from landfill. Currently, the city lacks the capacity to process mixed building material for recycling, creating a challenge to diversion efforts. Lacking is an incentive for processing companies or startups to provide services in an area with low processing demand. Students will work together to consider how city officials, debris recyclers, and prospective servicers might address the processing capacity,  creating demand, policies, and a profitable business model or process for mixed building material diversion.


As communities seek to grow community gardens, planters face problems of effective advertising, large scale education of the participants, and produce dissemination. It is often difficult to identify enough individuals for consumption in a timely manner when more food is grown than participants harvest. As a result, more groups seek to coordinate communication and transportation to better allocate produce to the community and surplus to those facing food scarcity.  In partnership with VU Community Gardens, students will consider how to tackle the issue of garden surplus in a way that addresses food inequity in Nashville.

Past SVTT Projects

The Family Center of Tennessee offers a range of programs that help break cycles of trauma in families. During the Spring 2020 semester, the Social Venture Think Tank partnered with The Family Center to build marketing and promotion strategies for a new program offering at the center.


The Nashville International Center for Empowerment (NICE) ensures refugees across Middle Tennessee achieve their full potential now and for generations to come. The Social Venture Think Tank built a new website prototype, marketing suite, and promotional materials for New American Staffing, a new staffing agency founded by NICE that helps immigrants and refugees find meaningful employment opportunities.


In Fall 2019 and Spring 2020, two teams of students worked to develop a social business concept for Nashville Build Upcycle. This center will keep reusable construction and demolition waste out of landfills. It will also ensure that Nashvillians have access to low-cost, high-quality construction materials. Long-term, the center will provide training, building materials, and resources that support the construction of Living Buildings, an emerging innovation in sustainable architecture.


Poverty and the Arts (POVA) is a nonprofit social enterprise that is building new models of economic justice for individuals affected by homelessness. The organization provides resources for individuals to create art and then earn income from the sale of those items to the public. A team of students developed a new administrative process for the organization, helping staff to decrease the time it takes to track inventory and sales. The implementation of this project enables POVA to dedicate more time to organizational development and program implementation.


The OASIS Center is a youth advocacy organization that helps ensure Nashville youth experience a successful transition into adulthood. In Fall 2019, the Think Tank worked with the OASIS Center to develop a plan for achieving more robust data analysis capabilities. This project was carried forward by Change++, a student group dedicated to using computer programming skills to support Nashville-based non-profits. The creation of a new data management process for the organization will help ensure their ability to track their impact across programs and among the Nashville youth.