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As colleges and universities around the country struggle with burgeoning outbreaks of COVID-19, students at Ohio State University are trying to find ways to make campus life safer. The Safe and Healthy Campus Innovation Challenge, hosted by OSU’s College of Nursing Center for Healthcare Innovation and Wellness and the Offices of the Chief Wellness Officer and Student Life is accepting student submissions from August 24 through September 7.
The Innovation Challenge is focusing on three key areas:
- Physical distancing (on- and off-campus student housing, bars/restaurants, etc.)
- Wearing of face masks/coverings
- Mental health and well-being
Student innovators are being encouraged to form cross-disciplinary teams to pitch ideas that can be implemented in the OSU community. Winning pitches will receive financial backing and be paired with a faculty or staff mentor. First and Second place projects will be announced on September 21.
College of Nursing Dean and Chief Wellness Officer Bernadette Melnyk commented, “There is a tremendous spirit of innovation at Ohio State, and we know our awesome and creative students can identify new ideas and solutions… that will promote optimal health and well-being for the whole university. They will help us foster the safest and healthiest campus community possible.”
Tim Raderstorf, chief innovation officer for the College of Nursing and co-editor with Dr. Melnyk of Evidence-Based Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Nursing and Healthcare, thinks students will prove to be natural innovators: “Administrators and leaders are not usually the best people to solve the problem. The best people to solve problems are the people who experience them firsthand. There’s no better group for us to be reaching out to than students because they know the problems intimately and know what solutions may be feasible for them.”
As the founder of OSU’s Innovation Studio, Raderstorf is speaking from experience. He advised student innovators that “We’re not asking everyone to come to us with a life-altering, game-changing idea. What we’re asking for is the best idea that you have right now. We’re going to try everything within our power to help your ideas rise to the top.”
Visit OSU’s Innovation Challenge for more details.
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