December 7, 2009
John Russell, a first-year student from Wellsville, Ohio, pitches his idea for a sustainability center on campus at the Center for Entrepreneurship's Idea Competition.
WOOSTER, Ohio - An enthusiastic group of students, faculty, staff, and visitors packed Lean Lecture Room of Wishart Hall last week to hear innovative proposals from the 15 finalists in The College of Wooster's Center for Entrepreneurship Idea Competition Pitch Off.
From the development of an I-Phone app that promotes fiscal literacy to the establishment of a human skill-set co-op, every idea had merit, and all 15 proposals received some sort of award, from a $50 gift certificate to a $500 top prize.
Students had just two minutes to make their pitch. Most used PowerPoint to augment their presentations with visual images, but some, like first-year John Russell, relied solely on the spoken word as he displayed the passion of a preacher in pitching his idea for a sustainability center on campus. After each pitch, students were subjected to a barrage of questions during a 60-second feedback session.
"I was thrilled with the number of ideas submitted and the number of winners whose projects involved the 'greenification' of the campus and beyond," said James Levin, director of Wooster's Center for Entrepreneurship. "This generation clearly understands what is at stake and is willing to take the kind of transformational approach needed to bring the health of the planet back to reason."
Indeed, nearly half of the proposals dealt with sustainability in one form or another, including senior Tobias Bokum-Fauth's pitch to stabilize an invasive aquatic plant and transform plant matter into green energy, which netted a $400 prize. In addition, junior Prajaya Shrestha shared her idea for a worm compost of leftover food at Lowry Center, which captured a $500 prize. Related proposals included the creation of a rain garden and the establishment of a community garden on campus. The Fans' Choice Award went to Olivia Dodson Parsons for her micro-financing project, through which
youth could help each other by providing global funding for educational endeavors.
"I am delighted that the ideas came from all corners of campus, from chemistry and English to earth science and political science," said Levin. "This shows that the concept of entrepreneurship is registering and inspiring people to look at their own interests to find out what can be cultivated into some kind of product or service."
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