What is Kickbox?

Kickbox is a way to help Elon students develop their ideas and foster innovation on campus. It is (literally) a box, stuffed with guidance, resources, and a Visa gift card to help you fine-tune and develop your idea. Students are encouraged to use the Maker Hub’s tools and community to help turn your idea into a reality.  What’s in the box? We can’t tell you – we don’t want to ruin the surprise :)

Program Details

What can I make with a Kickbox?

It could be something that solves a problem in the world, on campus, or in your room. It could be a rough prototype or a nearly-finished product. Maybe you want to explore an idea without knowing exactly what it will become. All of those are OK. 

Need inspiration? Look at what past Elon Kickboxers have made: From custom board games and a homemade arcade to musical instruments and wireless speakers, see what Elon students made with a Kickbox in 20162017, and 2018. Also, take a look at one of the United Nation’s Global Problems.

How long is the Kickbox program?

That depends – if you’re doing the QuickKick in Winter term, you’ll have most of January to finish the box. If you’re working on it in the Spring semester, you’ll have from early February to late April to work on your project. 

Applying

Who can apply for a Kickbox?

Elon students in all majors and all grade levels are encouraged to apply for a Kickbox. We’ve awarded Kickboxes to first-year students, grad students, and everything in-between. 

Can teams apply for a Kickbox?

Yes. If you want to work as a team on a project, that’s awesome. But you’ll only get one Kickbox for that project. Kickboxes are awarded per idea.

If you choose to work as a team, one person must be designated as the primary investigator for the project. This individual will be responsible for meeting all the deadlines and communicating with Kickbox program staff. Teams between 2-4 members, or co-investigators, seem to work best.

Students listed as co-investigators on a project are allowed to apply for their own Kickbox if it’s for an entirely different project. Remember, it’s one Kickbox per idea.

How many Kickboxes can I get?

Students can be the primary investigator for only one Kickbox per year. However, students can be co-investigators on more than one project. If you’ve received a Kickbox in a previous year, you’re eligible to get another this year. 

How do I get a Kickbox?

We have a limited number of Kickboxes to distribute this year, so it’s a competitive process that involves a few steps.

  1. Think of an idea for a project that you can make significant progress on during your timeline. Three weeks for QuickKick during January or three months during the Spring semester (start now). 
  2. Identify a faculty or staff sponsor who supports your idea (start now). You will need to talk with your sponsor before submitting an application. If you need help finding a sponsor, email makerhub@elon.edu.
  3. Complete an online application explaining your idea and why it’s worth pursuing.
  4. Receive confirmation that your Kickbox project was accepted (December)
  5. Attend an in-person workshop (approx 2 hours) at the start of your Kickbox project in early January or early February, depending on your timeframe. You will receive your Kickbox at this session.

Requirements

What are the requirements if I get a Kickbox?

By taking a Kickbox, you agree to fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Make substantial progress on your idea by working through the activities included in the Kickbox. 
  2. Post regular (at least 4) updates on the progress of your project on a project website. Each update should include photos (of your project, notes, or sketches) and text.
  3. Attend four 1-2 hour meetings throughout the semester with other Kickbox students.
  4. Show your project at the Maker Takeover of the Moseley Center during Celebrate Week and at the Burlington Maker Faire, both in late April. QuickKick students will also display their project at an open house in the Maker Hub – Downtown in early February. 
  5. Submit all your receipts and a spreadsheet with all your expenses. Return the Visa card with any remaining funds and equipment used in your project.
  6. Complete a post-project survey of your experiences with the Kickbox program.

What if I don’t fulfill the requirements of the Kickbox?

If you do not complete the requirements as outlined in this document, if you leave the project or Elon University, or in the unlikely event you are asked to leave the project, you agree to return the Visa card, as well as ALL materials and tools to the Maker Hub within three business days. You may be held accountable for any missing funds on the Visa card. You will also not be allowed to receive Kickboxes in the future.

What if my project fails?

That’s okay. Failure is a natural part of making. It’s expected. The important thing is that you learn from these failures to better prepare for your next project. You will still be required to complete all the responsibilities of the Kickbox - like regular updates and presenting about what went wrong and how it could be fixed.

Sponsors

What are the responsibilities of the faculty/staff sponsor?

All Kickbox recipients are required to have a faculty or staff member sponsor their idea. The role of the sponsor is to make sure the idea or project has some basis in reality, and to provide you with guidance during your project. The sponsor should have experience in the domain you’ll be exploring with your Kickbox. Learn more about sponsor expectations. 

How do I find a faculty/staff sponsor? 

You’ll want to find a faculty or staff person with previous experience that could help you as you develop your idea. Start with professors and staff persons you already know. Explain your idea to them and ask for their recommendations about who to talk to next. Faculty and staff at Elon know each other and will likely know who could help. If you need help finding a sponsor, email makerhub@elon.edu and we’ll help you identify someone. 

Funds and Equipment

What kind of funds are in the Kickbox?

The Kickbox has a $300 pre-paid Visa card that can be used anywhere that accepts credit cards.

What can I buy with my Visa card?

The funds in the Kickbox are to help make your idea a reality. Making it a reality will likely involve a lot of different things. These could include:

  • materials
  • tools
  • the advice of professionals and peers
  • attending a workshop that costs money
  • purchasing software
  • travel to a conference or meet-up
  • just about anything, really

There’s no way for us to know what you’re going to need to build and refine your idea. To make it as simple as possible for you to get what you need, we’re giving you near-total freedom with how you spend your funds. If you can honestly justify it for your project, then it’s OK to spend your funds on it. Purchases of illegal substances and weapons are prohibited.

In exchange for this freedom, you will be required to track your expenses in an online spreadsheet and submit your receipts at the end of your project. You may have to pay back any funds that are not accompanied by a receipt, so be sure to document everything. We’ll provide you with a budget spreadsheet template in Google Drive and Excel formats to help you track expenses.

Who owns the stuff I buy with my Visa card? 

You maintain ownership of your idea and anything you build as part of this project. You are also welcome to keep any materials you purchase for your project. Any tools that you buy should be returned to the Maker Hub for use by other Elon makers. Examples of tools that should be returned are: a soldering iron used to solder parts of your project, an oscilloscope to measure electrical signals, and a power drill to drill holes. We recognize there is a gray area in this definition, so please direct any questions about what should be returned to makers@elon.edu.

What if I don’t use all the money on my Visa card?

That’s great - you can return it to the Maker Hub. This project has limited funds, so any money you don’t use will go toward helping another Elon maker build their idea.

What if I need equipment that isn’t in the Maker Hub?

Let us know. Equipment like table saws, welding tools, and other traditional workshop equipment is available at Elon. We can work with you to facilitate access to those tools in workshop areas around campus. 

In addition, Elon students have access to the woodshop at the Container Space at Loy Farm, the Performing Arts Scene Shop, and STEAM Junction, the makerspace in downtown Burlington. Review those links to find what’s available and how to access those spaces. If you need tools that are not available at these locations, you could use a portion of your funds to access other makerspaces in the region.

Selecting Ideas

Kickbox applications are reviewed by Maker Hub student staff, Teaching and Learning Technology staff (TLT) and by select faculty members serving on the Academic Technology and Computing Committee (ATACC).

Origins

Adobe originally developed Kickbox as a way to inspire innovation among their employees. They have made the materials available for others to use for free. We’ve modified their version to make it a better fit for Elon.