U of G Students Hack the Farm in 2020 Improve Life Challenge

Posted on Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

Written by Calla McLachlan

Three students standing beside a PowerPoint presentation, pitching their solution at the Improve Life Challenge.

Every year, the Improve Life Challenge brings together students from across the University of Guelph to develop solutions to challenges faced by businesses and organizations in the community. Over the course of a day, students work in interdisciplinary teams to analyze their community partners' problems, design solutions, and pitch them to judges. This year’s theme, "Hack the Farm," focused on challenges faced by the agriculture and food industries.

The event is an immersive learning experience for students, who gain skills in design thinking, teamwork, analysis, and problem solving. It also provides community partners with fresh perspectives and innovative ideas on challenging issues they are working to tackle.

CESI was thrilled to join the Improve Life Challenge organizing team for the first time this year, and contribute to making the event as impactful as possible. We supported the organization of dedicated workshops for students prior to the event, where teams could learn to know each other a bit better and learn about the innovation process, effective communication, and conflict management. Via funding from the Future Skills Centre, CESI and the Research Innovation Office are also helping to turn the Improve Life Challenge's ideas into action: we will fund an internship for one of the students to work with their community partner to implement their solution over the summer. We hope that this dedicated funding will help increase the value of the event and accelerate innovation in our community.

Read more about the 2020 Improve Life Challenge, including information about this year's community partners and winning teams!

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