Champions of Change Challenge finalists announced by White House

Finalists of the White House's Campus Champions of Change Challenge have been announced by officials.

Organized last fall, the competition invited college students from across the country to come up with ways to use existing resources to tackle America's most pressing social problems. After selecting a shortlist of finalists, the White House opened up the ideas to a public vote to determine the victor. Winners will attend a special event at the White House, as well as feature in MTV show The Dean's List.

"All Across America, college and university students are helping our country out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world," said President Barack Obama in a statement. "I hope this challenge shines a light on their efforts, and inspires Americans of all ages to get involved in their communities."

Ideas selected as finalists include a permaculture initiative by Ryan Harb at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst; a student food pantry organized by Julia Lyon at the University of Arkansas; and a homeless food drive spearheaded by Thach Tak Nguyen at the University of California-Los Angeles.

If you're thinking of filling out college applications, there are a variety of ways you can help your school and local community, including campus volunteer programs. Ask the admissions advisers at your prospective schools about extracurricular activities when you're doing a college search.

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