At Bryant University we have the IDEA Program, which stands for “Innovation Design Experience for All.” My Freshman Year was the first year they implemented this program and I instantly fell in love.
All of the first year students move back to campus three days earlier than the rest of the students after Winter Break. Students are split into cohorts, which consists about 30 people, a faculty mentor, and an upperclassmen student mentor. Within each cohort, there are five or six different teams. Each cohort has a different real-life issue they have to find a solution for. For instance, I remember my cohort had to think of a creative way for movie theatres to increase revenue since Netflix and OnDemand are becoming popular.
The IDEA Program was looking for mentors to help the first year students this year and as a senior, I knew I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. For the event in January, we had to attend a training session last week that taught us how to “think creatively and experience innovation.” This training session had 20 people, both a combination of student mentors and faculty mentors. We were split into three teams and had an online-stimulation we had to complete.
Professor Jim Segovis and Professor Lori Coakley helped us through this program. We had to observe the characteristics and living habits of two people, Jennifer and Chris. Jennifer was extremely eco-friendly and enjoyed recycling, whereas Chris didn’t see the importance in recycling. In this example, the mayor of the city wanted the community recycling participation to increase. We had to think of a creative solution so not only Jennifer would participate, but Chris as well, in addition to everyone else living in the city.
My team thought of the idea of a self-sustained coffee shop called “Everyone’s Coffee Shop.” In this shop, everything would be donated by members of the city with any “extra” stuff they have, such as cups, plates, chairs, tables, etc. Essentially they could donate their extra belongings to the coffee shop rather than throwing them out. The coffee shop would also hold daily and annual events that would teach the community the importance about recycling.
The stimulation was a great example on how to think creatively and solve a real-life issue. It wasn’t a typical “classroom setting” and everyone was extremely engaged. Now we have to wait until the IDEA Program in January to see what the first-year students think!
No matter who you are, where you are from, or why you are reading this:
Bryant University Class of 2016