U-reka! Big Idea Contest
Do you have a plan for revolutionizing the arts scene? Do you want to make Clark a greener campus? You know there is a key service missing for students on campus and you want to solve the problem.
The Innovation & Entrepreneurship Program sponsors the annual U-reka! Big Idea Contest to help students improve Clark or the community. Ideas have ranged from charity road races to full scale retail operations. The contest is open to all undergraduate students..
Here's how it works: During fall semester, student teams go through a two stage application and review process. This process takes a large pool of applicants and narrows it down to three finalists. We are looking for students to talk about their idea, the team who will work it and how they see their idea helping to solve a problem on or near campus. The top three finalists present their idea to an audience of student peers and begin campaigning for student votes. All three ideas win a portion of the final $5,000 award based on student vote rankings.
We want to help lots of ideas come to life and that is why we split the $5,000 award between three winners. In addition to the startup funds, students receive project management guidance in the semesters that follow. We actively support a number of these great ideas well after the founders have graduated.
Do you have an idea? Come visit our office to see how you can start working on your idea and possibly enter the next contest.
U-reka! Ready to Apply?
2013- Clark Melting Pot, Raqueteer-ing and Back to School Safety
The Clark Melting Pot proposed by Shalmali Ghate '15, Alexis Church '15 and Vika Grindle '15. The Melting Pot will be a multicultural center that supports global fair trade. The center will sell authentic international goods such as jewelry, hand-made bags, clothing, and dorm decorations, along with pre-packaged international snacks. A prize of $2,500 will help implement the project.
The Raquet-eering project proposes a simple system in cooperation with Clark Athletics to maintain some basic equipment so students, faculty, and staff can borrow sports equipment. The students are proposing equipment shuch as racquets and balls so students can play racquetball, squash, basketball, soccer and badminton. This project will be led by Jun Ha (Marcel) Lyu '13 with a $1,500 award.
Back to School safety proposes screening military veterans for admission to Clark and then providing campus employment to supplement the University Police. Their undergraduate course work and police academy training costs could be off-set with the veteran's GI Bill benefits. This project was awarded $1,000 and will be lead by Rebecca Raphaelson '14.
2012- Local Root, Sustainable Containables & Library Lockers
Harrison Bass '13, Baran Cansever '12, Hannah Galgiani '12, Rachel Minsky '12, Laura Overton '12, and Annie Rosenthal '12 won first place with their idea to start an organic farm stand and CSA delivery service on campus. The seniors worked hard during spring semester to recruit undergraduates to take over this winning idea with great success. The students were awarded $2,500 from the I&E Program and an additional $20,000 from the Undergraduate Student Council.
In second place was Sustainable Containables, a recycling bin initiative proposed by Sharon Bort '14 and Heather Mackenzie '12 to help increase Clark's 50% recycling rate. The used their $1,5000 award to purchase carpentry supplies and additional recycled wood to build outdoor recycling bins. The bins are made using reclaimed wood when structures are taken down or repurposed. You can see a few of them around campus. View their contest entry slideshow.
In third place was Library Lockers, an idea introduced by Ngoc (Minnie) Bui '13 and Nathalia Vega Dalton '12. The girls recognized a need for rentable storage space for students in the Academic Commons and Library due to the distance, time and busy schedules of students. The project was awarded $1,000 to purchase a set of 18 lockers for installation on the fifth floor of Goddard Library.
2011- Green Roof and Campus Bike Patrol
Harrison Bass '13 and Noah Greenstein '13 took first place with their idea to transform the underutilized roof space of the Goddard Library into a living, green space for students to use as a rooftop oasis to study, practice yoga, and reflect on the beauty of the surrounding environment. The space can also be used for courses such as Urban Ecology, Energy and the Environment and Sustainable University for hands-on research experience. The pair was awarded $3,000 to jumpstart their project. View their contest entry slideshow.
Press: "Clark students receive funding to turn one rooftop on campus 'green'" Clark University News
Daniel Snyder '11 won third place for his University Bike Patrol idea. With the $1,000 in prize money, the University Police Department (UP) was able to fully outfit one officer with a patrol bike and uniform. In a further demonstration of support, the police department purchased a second bike and patrol uniform for a second officer. “Enhancing safety and environmental issues simultaneously is a win-win for both students and the University,” said Chief Stephen Goulet of the University Police Department. The University Bike Patrol launched on May 20, 2011. View his contest entry slideshow.
Press: "Clark adopts student's 'Big Idea,' institutes University Bike Patrol" Clark University News
2010 - Clark University Thrift Store
Alexa Lightner '11 and Rachel Gerber '11 proposed the The Clark Community Thrift Store, a retail outlet and resource for the Clark community and Main South. U-reka! awarded them $3,000 to create a store that will provide inexpensive college essentials, house wares, and gently used clothing to those without easy access to off-campus transportation, for students who cannot afford to purchase items new, and for anyone looking to discard used items easily, sustainably, and in a socially conscious way. All store profits will be donated to the Clark University Sustainability Initiative. View their contest entry slideshow.
2009 - The Green Run
Clark University seniors Maria Arabatzis, Sarah Holroyd, and Bonnie Unger won this year's U-Reka Contest for their idea of organizing a “Green Run” fundraiser in Main South. The $5,000 prize will help them bring their idea to reality at noon today on the Clark campus and surrounding Main South neighborhood. The team's winning idea — a 5K road race and walk is a “green-themed” walk and run and the celebration afterward is designed to raise awareness of environmental issues in the community and to encourage sustainable behavior.“Recycling, minimizing our carbon footprint, lowering energy usage, and reducing consumption, waste production, and pollution are some of the efforts that could help improve Worcester's environmental sustainability. These values are going to be promoted and taught through the Green Run and the following celebration,” the entry statement read. View their contest entry slideshow.
2008 - You Are Here
The winners of the 2008 Big Idea Contest were Deena Zakim, Erin Burns-Maine and Caitlin Hanson for their You Are Here idea. By re-structuring and, in the long run, institutionalizing, incentive structures that push students to utilize local businesses and get involved in the community, You Are Here hopes to change the way students navigate the difference between being a student at Clark and a resident of Main South. Whether Clark students view themselves as Main South residents or not they have a lot of weight in the local economy.
Press:"Erin Burns-Maine '04 wins 'The Big Idea' Contest at Clark University" Watkinson School News