An innovative student-sponsored idea to turn one of the rooftops of an existing building on the Clark University campus “green” has been chosen as the winner of this year’s U-Reka: The Big Idea Contest, an annual contest sponsored by Clark’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship (I&E) program. Other ideas that received funding include an after school program “Play it Forward,” and a University Police bike patrol unit. The contest, sponsored annually by the I&E program, is open to all undergraduate students. The student proposals are judged online by a student vote to determine which have the greatest potential to positively affect life in the Clark community. A $5,000 prize is shared among finalists to support the launch of their "Big Idea." The idea submitted by sophomores Harrison Bass and Noah Greenstein took first place. The two were awarded $3,000 to transform underutilized roof space of one campus building (e.g. Goddard Library or Sackler Science Center) 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.
This idea further supports Clark’s dedication to sustainable development and being a responsible steward to the effects of global warming and environmental issues in the world.
Sophomores Diego Angel and William Van Noppen took second place and received $1,000 for proposing an after school program, “Play It Forward.” Led by students, the program would combine tutoring and sports-oriented activities for youth in the Main South neighborhood. The program would be based on Clark’s campus and operate with support from Clark’s Athletic Department. Clark students would be recruited to help with both the academic and athletic components of the program. Clark senior Daniel Snyder placed third for his idea, University Police Bike Patrol, and received a $1,000 award to be used toward establishing a bike patrol unit within the University Police Department (UP). A bike patrol unit would provide the University Police Department with a secondary patrol presence on-campus that is not restricted to campus streets. Goals for having such a unit include reducing response time to situations on-campus, increasing perceptions of safety and officer visibility among students, and decreasing green- house gas emissions by patrolling less with sports utility vehicles and allowing for fitness opportunities by trained officers on bike patrol. According to Amy Whitney, associate director of the I&E program, “The one green roof idea generated wide student appeal because it is a tangible, innovative solution to helping address the effects of global warming and environmental issues. Clark students are passionate about finding ways to live the Clark motto,” said Whitney. “This idea will spark greater discussion on campus about sustainability, green technology and Clark’s role in decreasing its carbon footprint.”