Best of the Week 2021-2022: Teaching to the Future

ENTREPRENEURSHIP STUDENTS PARTAKE IN IN-HOUSE HACK-A-THON, FORMULATING SOLUTIONS TO SOCIAL ISSUES

Entrepreneurship students gathered in the Palisin Commons for an in-house hack-a-thon, addressing the social issues of affordable housing and food waste. This hack-a-thon focused on customer-driven prototyping, encouraging students to come up with ideas for companies that could meet customer needs and help solve these social issues. Students had to rely on their peers' feedback as hypothetical customers to provide input for what they want the product to accomplish. "This is important to consider when thinking of creating a socially impactful business, keeping the focus of the customer and user experience at the forefront during the creation process," says Entrepreneurship teacher Matthew Harris. After the morning-long hack-a-thon event, Angel Hillsman '25 and Savion Holman '24 were the top two winners of the day, with their company ideas being the selected favorites from the competition. "My winning company idea supplied compost bins to every community, where people from each neighborhood could drop off their wasted food and where farmers could have easy access to the waste to take and use as feed for their farm animals," says Savion. "Having to come up with a business idea right on the spot with no prior thinking was a challenge but proved that if you want to make a business model, you should do it and not wait for the 'right time' because there isn’t really ever going to be the right time." "My group came up with the ideas of creating a compost collection system to ultimately reduce food waste. Like the garbage collection, we would have trucks designated on certain days of the week that would travel across cities collecting people's compostable items. But in order for this to work, we would initially need to educate communities through advertising on the news, in the newspaper, and on social media to help them understand composting and learn what is compostable, recyclable, etc.," says Angel Hillsman '25. "Additionally, the council of each city will provide communities with designated composting bins for them to collect compost and place it on their property for weekly collection. And after the compost is collected, we will also provide an exchange for recipients to receive a portion of the worth of the weight of their collected compost. I really enjoyed the hack-a-thon and coming up with this idea with my group and hearing about the other great ideas shared. The most important thing that I will take away from the hack-a-thon is to not just let my ideas live in my head, but to have the courage to go out there and share them and make them a reality."