Students pose for a picture at the Rist DifferenceMaker Co-ops at the 2022 DifferenceMaker Preliminary Pitch Off

Do you have an idea? Do you see a problem you want to solve? Do you enjoy thinking creatively? Do you want to learn new skills? Do you want to meet new people or join a team? Don't have an idea, but want to make a positive impact in the world? DifferenceMaker® is for YOU! DifferenceMaker is meant for UMass Lowell students of all majors, disciplines, and years (freshmen through PhD). All UMass Lowell students are welcomed to make a difference at UMass Lowell, in the community, and in society.

Through the Rist DifferenceMaker Institute, along with affiliated faculty and other campus programs, the university has a range of activities that help students develop a creative mindset and make a difference.

  • DifferenceMakerTM $50,000 Idea Challenge – See a problem? Want to solve it? Have an idea? Want to pursue it? Put together a UMass Lowell student team, present a creative solution, and pitch for a chance to win $50,000 in funding.
  • Fall Events and College-based Competitions - A great way to get involved in DifferenceMaker, build new skills, and meet new people is to participate in fall events and college-based competitions.
  • Freshmen Make A Difference Orientation In collaboration with UMass Lowell Orientation, Student Activities and Leadership, and Residence Life, this effort aims to engage all UMass Lowell freshmen in solving local and regional problems through hands-on activities.
  • Rist DifferenceMaker Interns – The Rist DifferenceMaker Institute recruits and sponsors DifferenceMaker student interns who assist in the implementation of DifferenceMaker activities and programs.
  • EforAll Events, Competitions, and AcceleratorsEforAll supports entrepreneurs and student teams with creative ideas through various events and competitions year-round, as well as a winter and summer accelerator program.