Innovation Weekend

November 2020

November 6-8, 2020
Virtual Sessions

About the Event

Join us for a weekend intensive innovation event to address a long-standing problem of significance in both the military and public sectors. You will work with other students from varied backgrounds to push the solutions as far as you can in the weekend timeframe and will pitch your ideas to regional experts on the problem.


This semester's theme is "Mitigating Climate Catastrophes: Earth, Wind, Fire & Water." Your team will consider problems, formulate solutions, pitch your ideas to regional experts, and perhaps even win a monetary prize!

To date, the year 2020 has seen historic natural disasters influenced in large part to climate change. In January, tornados struck downtown Troy, Ohio. The 2020  Atlantic hurricane season is already through Beta, only the second time in recorded history that named storms reached 24 in a season that still has two months remaining. According to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, as of September 17, 2020, 79 wildfires in the United States have burned nearly five million acres across 10 states with the fire season also continuing through November.  Arctic sea ice reached its second-lowest extent in the 42-year history of satellite imagery in September 2020. This essentially means that 2020 saw the second-lowest low of arctic ice coverage. All of these data points show various ways that the climate is changing. The nightly news shows the impact on people, property, and the environment.  

What opportunities are there to address various causes of climate change? This could include manufacturing processes, public policy changes, or personal consumption habits. 

How can the mental health aspects of repeated catastrophes be addressed? 

Are there opportunities to manage the risk to life, health, and property? 

Join us during Innovation Weekend to explore these areas and more. Cash prizes will be awarded to top teams. Winning teams could also be sponsored to enter the Wright Venture competition to explore taking their ideas further.  

Event Information

Join us to make a difference by addressing these issues with other students and with the help of regional experts in the field. Bring your own team, or form a team at the event based on your interest and skills. Students from all majors are welcome.


The Innovation Weekend event will be held virtually using the Microsoft Teams platform. Participants are encouraged to download the desktop version prior to the event. If you are unfamiliar with Teams, please take the time to also view this Microsoft Teams video. Mentors and experts will circulate through collaboration rooms to answer questions and challenge your perspectives.


Mentors are an important part of Innovation Weekend. Mentors assist student teams by helping them stay focused on the topic and potential solutions. By challenging the team’s thinking on the issues, mentors help teams see the larger picture of potential solutions and how the teams’ potential solutions address not only the issue but have further effects beyond the immediate issue.

Mentors can sign up for one or more sessions throughout the weekend to work with participant teams:

  • Friday, 5 to 8 p.m. to include introductions, topic introduction, general brainstorming, and team formation
  • Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday 1 to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to assist with final presentation details including feedback on teams’ pitches


The primary sponsor for this event is WestRock and it will be hosted by the College of Science and Mathematics.

About the Innovation Weekend Events in CoSM

This series of weekend-long events will allow students from CoSM and other disciplines across campus with interests in research, innovation, and entrepreneurship to work in teams to address technologically-demanding, market-driven problems proposed by one or more collaborators from the private sector or government agencies.  These “innovation sessions” will culminate with teams making group presentations on their solutions and event moderators selecting winning ideas.  Winning team members will receive a prize and, in some cases, enhanced access to opportunities to work with the external companies or agencies on future research internships or on pushing their ideas toward fruition.

This program will allow students to get exposure to real-world problem-solving skills will prepare students for programmatic success and appreciation of regional workforce needs. It will also be an opportunity to connect with industry or government partners and will enhance access to research internships and/or employment opportunities post-graduation.