Civic Action

Challenge Accepted: Watch Dallas High School Students Take Up the Aspen Challenge

February 5, 2018  • Youth Leadership Programs

Never too young to lead, 160 Dallas Independent School District students packed into Dallas’ Union Station to hear challenges to issues of local and national significance from cross-sector leaders at the Aspen Challenge: Dallas Opening Forum.

Each year, the Aspen Challenge provides inspiration, tools, and a platform for young people to design solutions to address critical issues. In Dallas, students heard challenges around topics including immigration, resource reallocation, police-community relations, and mental health from speakers including Paul Quinn College president, Michael Sorrell and IDEO Cambridge’s portfolio director, Ann Kim.

In between challenges, students were treated to performances by Movement Art Is co-founders and movement artists, Jon Boogz and Lil Buck and Chicago-based poet Harold Green.

Teams of eight students and two educator coaches now have eight weeks to design solutions and present them to a panel of judges and peers for a chance to bring their ideas to the Aspen Ideas Festival stage this summer.

Check out challenges issued at the Aspen Challenge: Dallas Opening Forum below and at

Smita Rawoot & Eric Wilson
We challenge you to design mobility solutions that increase community cohesion, promote equitable development, and enhance economic mobility of vulnerable populations in your communities.

Gaby Pacheco
I challenge you to design a program that fosters empathy and creates support for immigrants in your community, regardless of their documentation status.

Ann Kim
I challenge you to use your power to heal to address the loneliness and isolation that weakens our health and our country, by designing ways to strengthen meaningful connections between people and communities.

Michael Sorrell
I challenge you to reimagine urban spaces by creating opportunities for underprivileged communities to have better access to healthy food and lifestyle choices.

Lonzo Anderson
I challenge you to design a method to improve community safety and trust in partnership with the Dallas Police Department.

Chris Plutte
I challenge you to create a scalable platform to facilitate dialogue with youth worldwide, encourage global citizenship, and promote the benefits of intercultural understanding.