March 24, 2022
By Alaina Uricheck ’24
Susquehanna University’s first-ever innovation challenge asked teams of students to identify an opportunity for growth on campus and propose a solution. This year’s winners were and Brooke LaCesa ’22, a business administration major; Hannah McLucas ’22, majoring in strategic communications-advertising and marketing, with minors in entrepreneurship and innovation; and Megan Nelson ’22, a psychology major with minors in entrepreneurship and innovation.
The team came up with a housing selection incentive program that would allow students to earn points for every on-campus event they attend. Students who earn more points would be assigned a better housing selection number.
“The more engaged a student is on campus (joining clubs, attending events), the better their numbers. It would be based on a point scale, which would be determined by a student committee,” McLucas said. “During the year, students would try to accumulate as many points as possible to get a better housing selection number.”
The students received coaches and mentors to support them throughout the two-day challenge. Mentors Alex Fleck, Founder and CEO of The Keeper Box; Georgann Joulfas, professor of business at Colorado Mesa University; John Rendina ’86, COO of Seneca Insurance Companies; and James Tierney, Founder of Tierney Education, helped students develop ideas and present their final speeches to University President Jonathan Green, Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students Francy Magee, Dean of Sigmund Weis School of Business Matt Rousu and Student Government Association President Arianna Sivio. ’23.
LaCesa, McLucas and Nelson will share the grand prize of $2,000.
“The Innovation Challenge gave our students a voice, which made them feel like they were part of our institution,” said Chair Emma Fleck and Associate Professor of Management and Marketing. “At a time when engagement can be difficult, we’ve heard that our students want to be engaged. We just have to assess what it looks like after Covid.
Other students who attended the event were encouraged to work closely with appropriate campus offices to consider implementing their ideas, Fleck said.
The event was hosted by Fleck and Sigma Nu Tau, Susquehanna’s Entrepreneurship Honor Society.