Social Innovation Projects

The Smarter Way to Serve

Social Innovation Projects (SIP) is an on-campus internship program that empowers you to work on projects from around the world for award-winning organizations that make a difference. 

  • Use your skillset in a hands-on approach to learning and develop vital skills in project management, teamwork, and communication.
  • Contribute to solving social issues and make an impact for people around the world.
  • Strengthen your résumé and get internship experience while earning three university credits.
  • Work directly with CEOs and directors of both nonprofit and for-profit companies.


Your Social Innovation Project will be an on-campus internship where you and a team of three to five student volunteers are paired with a partner organization such as Truckers Against Trafficking, the Salt Lake Tribune, and Ashoka to help them find solutions to the challenges of their cause.

Students are expected to:

  • Contribute seven to nine hours of work per week.
  • Learn problem-solving skills and collaborate with other teams during class.
  • Commit to giving a professional effort and delivering high-quality work.

Teams will work with their partner organization to innovate solutions for the world’s most pressing social problems such as poverty, healthcare, education, and economic development. The world needs your talents.

Each partner and project requires different skills; partners need interns with skills ranging from financial modeling to video editing and everything in between. We encourage all to apply. Students who are accepted have a passion for solving social issues and can adhere to the time commitments for a project.

  1. Submit an application here (be prepared to upload a résumé).
  2. Register for MSB 491R Section 001.
  3. When projects become available close to the start of the semester, we will invite you to review them and indicate your preferences.
  4. Team assignments are made by the Monday before the add/drop deadline.

NOTE: Some projects require none of the specified skills on the application, so don’t be intimidated or back out of applying. Applying should take five to fifteen minutes. 

The simplest answer is: We don’t know. 

Because we are working with real-world partner organizations and their actual work in the field, we won’t know the details of their needs until close to the beginning of the semester.

However, we do know that every semester we have close to thirty projects that require a diverse set of backgrounds and skills to accomplish them. When you register, you’ll be asked to identify your skills and interests. Later, when projects do come available, you’ll be able to choose your favorites and we will do our best to pair you with one of your top three.

Still unsure? Email and we can answer any questions you may have.

“What I’ve valued most from my SIP experience is being able to make a positive impact on social issues I’m passionate about, all while earning work experience and school credit.”  -Brooke Gledhill, Suyo Intern

Meet SIP Students 

I’ve always had a desire to help those around me, but with such a taxing and time-consuming major, chemical engineering, the thought of spending any of my extra hours outside of the library never seemed realistic or beneficial—until I got involved at the Ballard Center.

The Afternoon Dance Parties that Changed My Life

Driving up to a weathered brown apartment building in South Salt Lake, Khinhla, Win Tae, and their brothers rolled down the windows excitedly as I turned up the music. Shattering the silence, we got out and started dancing to the radio. As if anticipating our arrival, the front doors of the apartments facing us swung open and Burmese refugee mothers smiled as their children darted past to join us.

Four BYU students put the brakes on human trafficking in Mexico through the Ballard Center's on-campus Social Innovation Projects. This year, four students developed a model to help Mexican truckers recognize and report instances of human trafficking while on the road. 

Recyclops, a recycling company started by a BYU Marriott grad, teamed up with Ballard Center students to provide an Uber-like recycling service to rural communities. 

I saw first responder vehicles blocking off a whole street near my home. As I got to school, the hustle and bustle of class, homework, and friends consumed my attention and I forgot all about the accident—that is, until second period when the school police officer and counselor escorted me from class to the office. I wracked my brain as to what I had done to deserve the attention of the police.

Since APOPO began, it's rats have detected 105,024 landmines, opening over 21 million square miles of land back to locals who had previously lived in fear. The rats have also detected 11,054 additional tuberculosis cases and screened 402,017 samples for tuberculosis. A group of BYU students did a Social Innovation Project with APOPO and had the chance to work with these life-changing rats.