College Government (CG) hosted its first Ideafest this Monday to generate ideas for innovations on campus. The event took place in Tishman Commons and included a dinner, a lecture by Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu as well as a student-led brainstorming session.
Councilor Wu opened the event with a speech in which she recounted the path that led to her career in city government. Wu described initiatives that have arisen from city events held to generate ideas and outlined the process of transforming innovative ideas into realities.
“I think the key takeaway for me in terms of hackathons and idea generation is that you want to define goals clearly,” Wu said. “You want to look to the people who have experiences with what the challenges are, and that’s the student body. And you want to remember that no idea is too big or small.”
The participants were able to choose a specific categories of campus life to focus their efforts on. These categories were academics, arts, career development, community, community service, equity, sustainability, transportation, wellness and miscellaneous.
Participants identified needs within their chosen category and brainstormed ideas for addressing those needs. Then, individual groups pitched their projects to the room by outlining the general idea of the project and suggesting a hypothetical budget. The participants later voted to determine which projects would receive up to $750 of funding from the total $2,000 allotted to the program, which came directly from the CG budget.
One of the winning projects will help the community track Peter Pan buses by taking over a hashtag. The group of students decided that it would be easier to encourage students to help each other track the bus through Twitter than create an app, which some students have suggested in the past. The project was approved and awarded $300 dollars. The students will use the $300 to award students who have tweeted about the bus five times with a free Peter Pan token.
Another project was to use the College’s current contact with Guidebook to create a mobile guide to Wellesley student events. Another winning project will set up monthly arts workshops on campus and was awarded $300. Another group will use $750 to start a tradition of hoop-sharing among students by providing a seed group of free hoops to students in order to make the hoop rolling tradition more accessible. Finally, students will use $500 to provide home goods and recreational items to residential neighborhoods.
CG President Hana Glasser ’15 designed the event with the rest of the CG Cabinet to encourage campus-wide involvement in planning initiatives and to maximize the utility of CG funding.
“We wanted an opportunity to get Senate out of the Senate chamber, and to get more people involved,” Glasser said.
Students and senators thought of the event as a bridge between CG and the student body.
“I think [Ideafest] gives this wonderful opportunity for students to voice concerns that might not be simply policy issues … things that could make everyday lives not only better, but more productive,” Senator Leah Schwartz ’18 said.
“Orgs can only do so much on their own, so this is a great way to pair up with CG to take action,” Sadie Shelton ’15 said.
Photo by Alice Liang ’16, Co-Editor-In-Chief