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DifferenceMaker Central

DifferenceMaker®is a campus-wide program that engages UMass Lowell students in creative problem solving, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Through the Rist DifferenceMaker Institute, along with affiliated faculty and other campus programs, the university uses a range of activities geared toward expanding our students' understanding of how they can make a difference in the world.

DifferenceMaker® sponsors specific programs and activities that support students in solving big problems through innovative and entrepreneurial action.

We already know our students do make a difference, our many successful alumni are evidence of this, but rather than waiting for future graduates to discover their chosen career path, we introduce academic and extracurricular programs that specifically engage our students in innovative and entrepreneurial problem-solving.

DifferenceMaker provides training, mentoring and other resources to UMass Lowell students who wish to address social, environmental and economic problems in our community. In addition, our partner, Entrepreneurship for All, generously supported by the Deshpande Foundation, encourages the development of entrepreneurial ventures and leaders through competitions and leadership training programs.

DM Central

Check out a 360-degree photo of DifferenceMaker Central and photos from our competitions on UMass Lowell's Virtual Tour at the Lydon Library stop. 

  • SEP

    Join us for the DifferenceMaker Kickoff!

    Please join us for our 2020 Rist DifferenceMaker Kickoff Event on September 22! This event will take place from 5:30-7:30pm in the Saab Center, Perry Atrium, on North Campus.

    You will learn more about DifferenceMaker and the 2 college-based competitions; meet faculty and staff that can help you further your idea and make it into a reality; build a team with other students; share your ideas; meet real-life DifferenceMaker student team and meet new people through an interactive ideation activity; and eat, mingle and have fun.

    RSVP to

    We hope to see you there!

    5:30 PM
  • DEC
    Please join us in supporting the final student teams at this exciting innovation pitch contest! Student teams will present their cutting-edge banking and financial application ideas! The top prize winners will be awarded $500 per team member! Jim Regan (class of '88, Manning School of Business), CEO of DCU, will be present, as well as other DCU representatives. Please come network and support this fun event. If you can only stop by for a portion of the event, please do! Food and drinks will be served. Questions?
    6:00 PM
  • DEC
    DifferenceMaker Final Competition for the Francis College of Engineering
    9:00 AM

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