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Student-Driven Student Affairs Incubators
May 31, 2012 - 9:08pm

Turning ideas into action requires time, leadership, and an organizational culture that promotes innovation. Recently, I've been checking out some action-oriented initiatives, including: #satechBOS, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Student Startup Challenge, and the Newport Startup Session. Of these three events/programs, #satechBOS is specifically Student Affairs focused. The Newport Startup event may touch on some Student Affairs solutions, but it's more broad in scope. And, the UWM event is about getting students together to create wonderfully inventive projects that may one day transform into legitimate business endeavors. While #satechBOS is open to anyone who wishes to creatively nudge the profession in some way or another, the primary audience will be Student Affairs practitioners, #SAgrad students, or technology solutions providers. The #satechBOS event is structured like a "hackathon." Teams of practitioners work on a solution and then present it to the group upon completion.

What would happen if we combined the student-focused entrepreneurial incubator concept with the #satechBOS model? Teams of students coming together with the sole purpose of coming up with action-oriented innovations for Student Affairs… The benefits of this sort of gathering would be many. Students would gain real-world experience (our institutions are not magical non-real-world bubbles). Student Affairs units would benefit from student insights. And, campuses would create truly generative experiences with the potential for lasting impact.

Perhaps this is already happening at campuses and I just haven't heard about it. If so, please feel free to share how things progressed from inception to implementation. If this isn't taking place, what do you think? Would this work at your campus?


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