2015 KEEN Fall Conference - Campus Impact
Campus impact. Two words that together could have hundreds of meanings. For two Ohio Northern University Engineering students, campus impact means activating change.
Juniors Alexandra Seda and Adam Berry were selected by KEEN faculty representatives to attend the 2015 KEEN Fall Conference at Villanova University on October 1st and 2nd. The conference had one portion that focused on faculty implementation of KEEN and another portion that focused on engaging students. Seda and Berry were tasked to work with 18 students from 10 network institutions to explore the concepts of the EMpwr program, an initiative by KEEN to implement student groups with an entrepreneurial mindset on network campuses.
While at the conference, student participants heard representatives from network institutions speak on what they are currently doing through their EMpwr programs to activate change and impact their campus. EMpwr is open for interpretation so that every network campus can implement the group differently based on what their students feel the campus community needs.
In an effort to get students thinking about how change can be implemented, they participated in Imagination Quest, a 24-hour innovative competition. Participants split into teams, were given a map of the city of Philadelphia, and were sent to observe three locations and identify three problems in each location that could benefit from change. After each team discovered nine things that could use improvement, they were tasked with creating a solution to one of those nine problems and were to start their pitch with, “imagine a world where…” According to student Adam Berry, students traveled to Villanova and used resources found in Villanova’s think space to prototype, research, pitch, present, and show off their solution to a world problem.
Alexandra Seda’s team, which was named “Flux Traffic”, observed a need to create change in traffic lights. Seda said, “we realized that 2.3 million intersection related traffic accidents happen every year and many at stoplights were people run the red light or go too fast in school zones. Based on the principal of magnetic flux, our team recommended that magnetic coils be placed under intersections that are synced with microcontrollers operating the traffic lights. When lights turn to yellow, vehicles will be forced to slow down.” Seda’s team worked well together and the judges awarded them with second place.
After the Imagination Quest was completed, students met with an EMpwr representative who helped guide a discussion regarding the EMpwr competition, what EMpwr schools are currently doing, and any future plans for organizations that had been created on network campuses. Both Seda and Berry are members of the EMpwr based group I.O.N., Innovators of Ohio Northern, which was established on campus in the spring of 2015.
The conference allowed Seda and Berry to connect with students from other schools and to further their understanding of KEEN and the connection to EMpwr. When asked if the conference helped them to better understand the purpose of KEEN, Berry said, “I learned that KEEN universities focus on combining the entrepreneurial mindset with an engineering skillset. It was best explained to me when I was told that often times engineers look at something and try to find out how to improve that specific thing. However, an Entrepreneur sees the full picture and can think of its potential to become something. KEEN combines the entrepreneurial mindset with an engineering skillset so that great things can be created out of nothing.”
Both Seda and Berry will take an active role in working with other Ohio Northern University students to decide how to best incorporate KEEN and EMpwr initiatives into the I.O.N. organization’s efforts on campus.
Lori GoldsmithExecutive Administrative Assistant
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