Innovators on the Hill

(Ciara O'Brien / McDaniel Free Press)

Last year, Introduction to Innovation was a first-year seminar course. This year,  it is being reinvented and taught differently. It is now qualified as an ENC course, part of the Encompass Program, and teaches innovation and entrepreneurship. In the course, Professor Mike Looney gave his students a project to create a start-up innovation that would better help the community. 

The McDaniel Innovation and Entrepreneurship challenge is a five-week program designed to develop entrepreneurial and innovative ideas presented by the students. Most of the groups plan on participating in hopes of winning and receiving funding for their projects. The aim for these projects is for them to be implemented during the semester or before the semester ends. Here are some of the fascinating ideas that students came up with: 

McDaniel Food Delivery Service (Austin C. Heid, Jaden E. Silverman, Javon Spencer, Michael Ruiz, and Steven Angel): As college students, we’ve all been there before whether you’ve been sick, stressed over finals week, etc. And they think a McDaniel food delivery service would make life more beneficial. This group plans on making an extension of the McDaniel Online ordering app, and adding a menu where students can order food from the Pub, Casey’s Corner, Englar Dining Hall, and Scotty’s Convenience Store and have it delivered. The group is trying to spread the word throughout the McDaniel Community and would appreciate it if people interested in this idea could fill out a quick survey.

Expand Water Bottle Filling Stations (Kathleen Bailey, Djef Ikambana, Jacqueleen J. Lopez, Raven E. Kozak): This is a group of avid water jug and bottle carriers, and they’ve noticed how big of a hassle it’s been to bring their jugs and bottles with them everywhere they go. It’s also a nuisance having to find water stations to fill their bottles when they run out. They believe that having stations where they could refill their bottles could hopefully bring awareness to the amount of plastic used per day, in addition to making life easier for jug carriers. 

Providing natural skincare products (Ja’da P. Perry, Jani S. Pierre, L’rae K. Chester): This group wants to make natural soaps and skincare products for McDaniel Students. Catering more to ethnic people in the community with sensitive skin that can’t use the big-name products. “Usually in stores, we see the stuff that smells good and for some people, that product might not necessarily be good for their skin,” said Perry. “As someone with eczema I can’t really use certain big-name products, so my dad has to make our own soaps and products,” added Chester. The group hopes to accomplish equality within skincare products. By making sure everyone has equal opportunities for healthier skin and that they’re not being limited to only certain products.

Westminster Community Garden (Briel J. Mack, Laura Vonella): This group hopes to spread awareness and provide entry to people who don’t have access to fresh fruits or vegetables within their communities, in addition to using bees to pollinate flowers and produce those fruits and vegetables. They want to start by catering to those locally in Westminster, and having the Westminster community contribute to the community garden. Through recording and videotaping, they’ll eventually try and spread the knowledge more globally. “We want to find some land whether at McDaniel or in Westminster and have a community garden, where you exchange help for products. So if you don’t have any fresh vegetables, pull some weeds and then help yourself,” said Vonella “I live in D.C. and the knowledge of growing vegetables isn’t a familiar concept for most, hopefully by broadcasting our garden it could help others out there in need,” said Mack. 

Fitness Program (Aiden T. Carr, Nicolas J. Jones, Jae Hyung Chun, Zachary D.Otte): This group plans to start a fitness and meal program for McDaniel students that want to improve their health and fitness So that they can live a healthier life later one… They also want to educate students so that they can improve their health on their own and have the knowledge on how to keep their bodies up even after the program is over. “We all have some sort of fitness that we like to do, He’s an athlete (Zachary), I body build (Nicholas), he plays hockey (Jae), and he goes to the gym (Aiden), in order to stay healthy we all need to stay physically active,” said Jones.

How You Can Help:

Even though not everyone is able to participate in the class directly, there are still ways to help support these projects. Most of the groups have something to do with the students and the campus of McDaniel. They want your input on what they’re doing so that they can be sure that it’s a service needed. Be on the lookout for service announcements in your McDaniel email and please fill out their surveys.

If you’re looking for a more direct route of helping out, consider buying, using, and participating respectively for these future innovations. The McDaniel Food Delivery Service is a business that wants to deliver campus food to students and staff. They’re hoping to make this program an additional work-study option for students. For those not interested in working, you could still support the potential future project by ordering from their services. The Expand Water Stations group is trying to add more water filling stations to campus. McDaniel students could help by utilizing the water stations a lot more and reducing the amount of plastic being used in the process. The natural skincare business wants to make healthier skincare options for people with sensitive skin. Support their business by buying their soaps and lotions and see how the natural products can rejuvenate your skin compared to other big-name products. The Westminster Community Garden wants to create a garden where people in need can receive food. You could help by spreading the word around Westminster and McDaniel so that people who need access to food know where to find it. The Fitness Program plans to make their project an internship for Kinesiology Majors, most likely as a trainer. They plan on certifying trainers and helping them to create meal plans and workout routines for McDaniel students that want to work out. You could either sign up to be a trainer, or even be trained to help others live a healthier lifestyle. Although all projects are different, they all share the same end goal: aiding a community in need. If everyone pitches in and does their part, they can accomplish it!