What is a “Creative Idea Challenge?
The Preger Prize Creative Idea Challenge is designed to stimulate and reward individual creativity among SNU undergraduate students in every discipline. Participants must come up with an idea which is novel, useful, and implementable. They must then consider their idea in detail, and develop a practical approach to realizing it.
Fifteen students entered their ideas into the 2020 Challenge, held November 18. Each student filled out an idea submission form and a business model canvas to enter the challenge. The day before the event, each contestant submitted a 60 second video to explain their idea. The video included descriptions of why their idea would be useful, and how it could be implemented in practice.
Competing during a pandemic
This year’s event was held entirely online due to the pandemic. After each student’s video was aired, the judges asked questions, gave feedback, and completed the judging rubric. The Zoom format worked really well! In addition to the competitors and judges, the audience included other students, faculty, and staff from SNU, as well as family and community members. 63 Zoom participants logged in and there were often several viewers on a login. This contest lasted 3 hours, and most people seemed to really be enjoying it and stayed online. Especially with the current limitations on socializing, people enjoyed the lively atmosphere.
Many of this year’s Creative Ideas were focused on sustainability, one of Sierra Nevada University’s four core themes. Another popular theme, not surprisingly, was coping with the pandemic. Each entrant was challenged to exercise their creativity, entrepreneurial mindset, and problem-solving skills. At the end, five winners were announced. They will receive their award checks at SNU Tahoe’s 2021 Commencement in May.
The 2020 Preger Creative Idea Challenge Winners
1st Place: Misel Marvot – $5,000
Greenhouse powered by excess heat from manufacturing plants.
2nd Place: Madeline Moore – $3,000
“Eco Towns” app, a game for kids to learn about sustainability and the environment.
3rd Place: Austin Armstrong – $3,000
“Mask Clasps”, to adjust face mask straps to fit just right.
4th Place: Kekoa Abreu – $3,000
“Sani Pearls”, hand sanitizer in a decomposable pearl form.
5th Place: Sam Rusak – $1,000
“G-Bike,” a battery pack powered by pedaling your bike that serves as a portable mini generator.
Many of these students will continue on to enter the Pitch Competition, March 3rd, followed by the President’s Cup Business Plan Competition on April 21st. Come back and see them again!
The Preger Prize Creative Idea Challenge was made possible by the generous donation and commitment of Bob and Eleanor Preger. We also want to thank the judges, who gave some priceless feedback to our student competitors and shared your excitement with the entire audience. SNU faculty mentors worked one on one with each student to help them prepare for the big night. We also appreciate the participation and support of President Rob Valli, the IT department, and MC Justin Spees, the business department chair.