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Calling All Change-Makers for a Sustainability Challenge With Cash Prizes

A weekend of all-out innovation

We’re kicking off the New Year with an innovation challenge open to all NC State students. Make-A-Thon is a sustainability challenge where students compete in teams to create the best solutions to environmental issues. Whether it’s about water, waste, energy, transportation or food — that’s up to you and your team to decide.

At the end of the competition, you will pitch your idea to judges from the community and local companies for a chance to win cash prizes! 

Read the Q&A’s below to learn more about the event and make sure to register your team before the Jan. 22, 2021 deadline if you want to partake in the competition! 

What’s the Make-a-Thon challenge?

At the beginning of Make-a-Thon weekend, each team chooses a sustainability challenge theme/subject to address and narrows in on a specific scale such as individual, campus or community. For example, a team might choose to create a solution that helps individuals reduce personal water use or that helps the community incorporate more sustainable food practices.

At the end of the competition, you will pitch your idea to judges from the community and local companies. And, yes, there are prizes for the winning teams.

When does this virtual competition occur?

This year Make-A-Thon will take place virtually from Jan. 29-31, 2021. You’ll have online access to this year’s sustainability challenges, industry mentors and experts, and a collection of resources to guide the design thinking process. For judging, your team will create a video submission of no more than 7 minutes regarding the sustainability solution you developed.  

Who can participate?

Make-A-Thon is open to any NC State student – undergrad or graduate. You register as a team. Teams must consist of three or four people, and at least two of those people must be from separate colleges within NC State. If you already have a team formed, you will be able to register as a team. If you have a partial team formed or it’s just you, no worries. We’ve set up a channel on Slack so that you can find others looking for teammates. You must register your team by Jan. 22, 2021.

What’s new this year?

If you have participated in previous Make-A-Thon competitions, you’ll notice a few changes this year. First, this year’s event features an all-virtual event format. This enables us to continue offering the competition while reducing the risk of COVID-19. Your health and well-being are our first priority. While we will miss the energy of being in-person, we are excited to continue to offer many of the competition’s hallmarks. You’ll have access to meeting with industry mentors and experts via an online format, and the science fair-style pitches to judges will now be submitted by your team via video. Make-A-Thon also continues to offer $3,500 in cash prizes. Another change we’re excited about this year is the opportunity for teams to work on real-world sustainability challenges submitted by local communities. If you prefer a more open-ended option, teams can also choose any sustainability challenge related to energy, water, waste, transportation or food.

What skills do I have to have to participate?

A think and do attitude is all that’s required. A true interdisciplinary event, Make-A-Thon brings together students with all kinds of backgrounds and skills. Some code. Some design. Some write. These diverse perspectives and skills will enable unique solutions to campus sustainability challenges. Bring whatever skills you have. Collaboration will take care of the rest.

Are there prizes?

Why, of course! Prizes this year include $2,000 for first place, $1,000 for second place and $500 for third place.

I’m not a coder or a designer. Will that matter?

You don’t have to be a coder or a master of all things technology. It’s likely that someone else on your team may have skills in that area. Plus, we’ll have training sessions and mentors/experts around to help you.

How do I sign up?

Register online at the Make-A-Thon website by Jan. 22, 2021.