Have an idea? Make it a reality with Kickbox

The Maker Hub is sponsoring a new project, Elon Kickbox, to help students develop their idea, fund their project, and inspire them to make it a reality.

What's in the box? You have to apply to find out. 
The Maker Hub, Elon’s campus makerspace, is giving Elon students a chance to make their inventive ideas come to life with Kickbox. Elon Kickbox is not just a box, it’s a process with support and funding to foster innovation on campus. Open to students in any discipline and any year, the Kickbox includes a pre-paid Visa card that can be used to buy materials, tools, software, or cover registration fees to attend a workshop.

Dan Reis, an Instructional Technologist who helped bring Kickbox to the Maker Hub, says there are few guidelines for the project idea, “It could be something that solves a problem in the world, on campus, or in your residence hall. It could be a rough prototype or a nearly-finished product. All you have to do is justify why it should be funded and get a faculty or staff member to agree that it’s worth pursuing.”

Reis, and fellow Teaching and Learning Technologies Instructional Technologist Michael Vaughn, converted Adobe’s original Kickbox to one customized for Elon and the Maker Hub. “Kickbox seemed like the perfect way to deliver grants, but also provide a supportive structure on how to complete an idea,” says Vaughn.

Vaughn says he has no problem handing money over to a student, “The model we’re using is set up with accountability in mind. The application process isn’t overwhelming, but it does require some work. You have to convince an instructor or staff member to vouch for the value of your concept. You also have to track your purchases with receipts, just like you would for a real-world business project. We’re giving students autonomy over how the money is spent with the understanding that with great funds come great responsibility.”

After applying, selected students will complete a short online course and attend an in-person workshop in February to receive the Kickbox. Students have until April to complete their project, where it will be presented at the Burlington Mini Maker Faire and during Celebrate Week.

Vaughn concludes, “The money is clearly the most visible element of the Kickbox, but the real star is the process we’ll be teaching the selected students. This process will help you develop your idea, mold and refine it, then turn it into something real. You get the autonomy to pursue the project in any way that works for you. That means your idea’s success is your responsibility. You own it. You make it happen. That’s an incredibly rewarding experience when it happens.”

Applications are open now through December 7, and students in any discipline with an idea are encouraged to apply. Find out more at elon.edu/makers/kickbox.