Hack Your Campus enters final rounds

Drew Howard

Hack Your Campus, a campus-wide competition that tasks students with pitching innovative and practical ideas for use at Grand Valley State University, will enter its final round of judging to name the $1,000 winner.

Hack Your Campus has received close to 30 unique ideas from GVSU students since online submissions opened on Jan. 5. Out of those 30 ideas, 16 will move on to the live pitch competition.

Kyle Felker, digital initiatives librarian and creator of Hack Your Campus, said he is very pleased with the content of the pitches sent in.

“We’re impressed by the creativity of the ideas,” Felker said. “We had someone who wanted to build an indoor arboretum, someone who wanted to establish a shuttle service as well as a pitch for a sleeping pod in the library.”

The full list of ideas submitted show that students seem to be most interested in fixing issues concerning dining, health and transportation, Felker said.

In terms of dining, one student’s proposal aims to correct the lack of healthy eating options on campus through the implementation of a separate, healthy-centric dining location. At this location, students can enjoy fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, nuts, assorted grains and grilled, lean protein.

Another idea proposes the construction of a heated pavilion for students to stand under at the bus stop during the cold winter months. This would not only keep students warm but also provide incentive to attend class.

There is also a recommendation for a smartphone fitness application that will allow students to compete against one other in their exercise-oriented goals. The application aims to combine social media and healthy living habits onto one simple, accessible platform.

“I particularly loved the idea of creating a room on campus filled with tropical foliage that students could visit during the winter months,” said Alissa Lane, outreach coordinator at the Padnos International Center. “One student proposed creating an electronic resource board where students could buy/sell items, find roommates, textbooks, etc. It was great to see such a wide range of ideas.”

The live pitch competition will occur at the Mary Idema Pew Library on March 20 with registration starting at 8:30 a.m. Following registration, students will split up into three rooms to present their seven-minute pitch to a panel of judges. Two students from each room will then move on to the final round presentations where the winners will be decided.

Final round judges include Andrew Plague, GVSU Student Senate president; John Berry, director of the Design Thinking Initiative; Lee VanOrsdel, dean of University Libraries; and Gayle Davis, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

According to Felker, live pitches will be judged based on three factors.

“We are looking for creativity and for it to be unusual in some way,” said Felker. “We are also looking for a clear identification of a problem, as well as the viability of the proposed idea.”

Prizes include $1,000 for first place, $700 for second place and $500 for third place. Felker explained there is no guarantee these ideas will be implemented on campus.

“These kind of competitions empower students to take action in their current and future communities,” Lane added. “The more students can think about and take an active role in improving the community, the better.”

For more information about Hack Your Campus, go to www.gvsu.edu/hackyourcampus

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