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Capstone Experience

Big Questions

Today’s leaders must contend with many challenges locally and globally. As a community of leaders, we have identified several interrelated challenges that we want BLI students to contemplate, collaborate and engage with. We believe building capacity in these areas will prepare Michigan students to be effective leaders who address these BIG questions with grace and humility. We ask how to,

  • Mitigate social disparities (i.e., unequal distribution of resources and services in education, housing, income, occupational safety, access to physical and mental healthcare, etc.) across/within cultures, ethnicities, race, gender, sexualities, abilities, and/or regions to ensure equity.
  • Strengthen connections between communities and steward peace (e.g., freedom from disturbance; resolution of disputes and the maintenance of a tranquil world; preservation of and respect for individual dignity) in enduring, nurturing, and sustainable ways. 
  • Foster well-being and resilience (e.g., academic, mental, physical, social obstacles; combat stigma). 
  • Utilize technology for social good (e.g., responsible use of technology; improving the quality of life for people marginalized by visible identities such as race, gender, ability, or invisible identities such as socio-economic status, ability, sexual orientation, mental health; mitigating the negative impact of technology).
  • Promote sustainable environmental behavior (e.g. recycling, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, responsible consumerism, corporate accountability); cultivate connection and harmony between people and nature. 
  • Promote civic and democratic engagement, including non-partisan voter engagement, civics and media literacy, and dialogue across differences.


The BLI will accept five teams to the 2021 cohort. All teams are provided with financial support, academic and professional mentorship, and a variety of skills training:

  • Eligible to receive a minimum of $15,000 of project funding, including stipend support for all students, and housing stipend during bootcamp for students facing financial hardships.
  • Experience coaching and mentorship from BLI professional staff, graduate assistants, alumni, and experts in the field.
  • Refine research skills such as targeted data collection and analysis, academic literature reviews, survey development, focus groups, and semi-structured interviews with stakeholders.
  • Gain experience in grant writing and reporting, budgeting, project management, teamwork, public speaking, navigating ambiguity, stakeholder analysis, and curating and managing an advisory board.
  • Learn about ethically and equitably engaging with a community.
  • Receive and integrate ongoing, timely feedback into project development and implementation.
  • Engage in critical reflection.
  • Cultivate a professional community through networking opportunities and cohort meet-ups

Learn more 

Application for the 2021 Capstone cohort application closed Thursday, February 11.

Schedule a virtual coffee chat with Capstone Program Manager, Fatema Haque.

The London Idea

One lucky Capstone team is selected annually as the London Idea Project. The student team selected will benefit from specialized support for their action, connections to mentors, and a visit to Chicago to connect with leaders in their chosen field of study. While in Chicago, the team will have an opportunity to present at The London Idea Foundation benefit.

The London Idea was created to celebrate the legacy of Adam London, a 2011 graduate of the University, majoring in Organizational Studies. He was an innovative ideator, a passionate creator, and an avid explorer. The London Idea Foundation’s partnership with BLI continues Adam’s work connecting people and ideas.

The 2021 TLI team is General Intelligences!