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Success of Innovation Weekend Speaks to Students’ Resiliency

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Wright State University’s (WSU) Innovation Weekend showcased the resiliency of WSU students as they worked together on solutions to mitigate climate catastrophes from the comfort of their own homes.  

What is innovation weekend? 

Hosted once per semester since spring of 2018, Innovation Weekend gives students at WSU the opportunity to work in teams to create solutions to real world problems, before offering these solutions to a group of judges.  

This semester, the event took place from Nov. 6 to Nov. 8 and utilized Microsoft Teams as a platform for participants to engage with their fellow teammates and mentors.  

“Presentations on Friday evening by subject matter experts included how climate change impacts land, water and air; an overview of the carbon cycle and why carbon dioxide is more prevalent in the atmosphere today; how firefighting turnout gear functions; understanding how to mitigate risk to life and property; and the psychological aspects of changing habits that negatively impact the environment,” said College of Science and Mathematics (CoSM) Director of Academic Services Nicholas Christian.  

After Friday’s presentations, students broke up into two teams and began to brainstorm ideas. Mentors were available to assist the groups while they worked on solutions to these real-world problems.  

“The mentors worked with the teams to challenge their thinking, provide expertise, and help them with their final presentations,” Christian said. “This year we had graduate students, faculty members from CoSM and faculty from the Boonshoft School of Medicine to serve as mentors.”  

Christian says that the success of Innovation Weekend speaks to the resiliency of WSU students, faculty and staff. 

“The continued interest in Innovation Weekend shows that WSU students are interested in opportunities to consider and propose solutions to big picture questions facing our world today,” Christian said. “Innovation Weekend allows students the opportunity to work alongside industry leaders to answer the big questions and dilemmas the world is currently facing.”  

Participant reaction 

WSU senior Sydney Woods participated in her second Innovation Weekend and said that despite a lower than usual turnout, the weekend was a success.  

“There were enough people for two teams this time around, when previously there were several,” Woods said. “Communication went well nonetheless, and the mentors did an amazing job. They offered their knowledge as well as improvements that we could make to our final presentations before we proposed solutions to the judges.”  

Woods said that while the virtual format made communication among teammates different, students were able to work together without issue.  

“We laughed a lot on my team,” Woods said. “One of the fire shelters had a nickname of the baked potato bag, and we all thought this was really funny. Getting to be a part of this one last time during my senior year was great.”  

Former WSU student Gabriel Pabon said that it was nice to see that despite coronavirus rules and regulations, the university is still able to provide students with virtual events that stimulate thought, and afford students the opportunity to work together albeit online.  

“One of my favorite things about WSU was the connections that you could make with other students. It seems like the university is doing a great job at continuing these traditions even during these uncertain times in which we live,” Pabon said. “It’s important that students continue to safely be involved and engaged, even during the coronavirus. Connections and relationships with fellow students are a major part of being in college and WSU does a great job at facilitating this.”  

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