Elon Innovation Challenge offers students chance to tackle real-life issue

Registration for the Challenge, which will be held Saturday, Feb. 29, is now open and closes Feb. 21.

The Doherty Center for Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, will host the annual Elon Innovation Challenge on Saturday, Feb. 29­­. The Innovation Challenge is a day-long opportunity for students to compete with other universities to solve a real-life issue that is announced on the day of competition.

Last year’s Innovation Challenge was centered around the issue of how to reduce, repurpose and/or manage the amount of packaging waste on Elon’s campus. Elon alumni Max Pivonka ’19 and Anna Cosentino ’19 won “Best Innovation” for their design “Gsoogle,” a center recycle and reuse delivery packaging for Elon’s Mail Services center.

The winning team will take home a $1,500 grand prize, with second place earning $1,000 and third place earning $600. Meals will be provided during the day-long competition.

A team working on their solution during the 2019 Innovation Challenge.

Innovation Challenge committee member and Doherty Center Director Alyssa Martina has watched the innovation challenge grow and develop over time. According to Martina, one of the unique elements of this competition is its appeal to students across campus and from different disciplines.

“I love that we are embracing that whole mentality that any one of us can be innovative. It just takes some curiosity and creativity and willingness to work on teams to put forward best thinking and an innovative mindset,” Martina said.

For Martina, the Elon Innovation Challenge represents more than just a competition. “It just captures the best part of what, I think, college education is all about,” Martina said. “Which is about being curious, being creative, being innovative, thinking outside of the box, working in teams, being collaborative, and then coming up with really inspiring ideas.”

The challenge co-chairs are Becky Neiduski, the dean of the School of Health Sciences, Professor of Chemistry Karl Sienerth; the student co-chairs are Isabella Ponterio ’20 and Haley Brengartner ’20.

Registration for the Elon Innovation Challenge closes on Feb. 21. For more information on registration, visit the event website here.

Th Elon Innovation Challenge is hosted by the Doherty Center for Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship and is in collaboration with Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Communications, Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, School of Health Sciences, School of Education, and School of Law. The event is also sponsored by the Sullivan Foundation and Glen Raven and is also supported by Campus Compact of North Carolina.