10,000 Makes Makeathon

I am a co-founder of the 10,000 Makes Makeathon at the University of Minnesota.

While preparing for the second annual Makeathon in 2016, my team considered how to directly engage undergraduate students in the Grand Challenges initiative, a key strategic priority at the University of Minnesota. The trouble is that Grand Challenges are hard. We were tackling problems like developing sustainable cities in the face of climate change and promoting just and equitable societies in a divisive political climate. Those are lofty goals for students seeking four-year degrees.

So why did we dare students to create a prototype addressing a Grand Challenge in only two days? Simply, we believed in the power of students. 10,000 Makes gives participants the opportunity to experience a complete idea-to-execution design process, interact with an interdisciplinary community of faculty and students, and develop the skills and passion that will allow them to tackle future challenges. We didn’t expect any Grand Challenges to be solved at the 10,000 Makes Makeathon, but we knew we were investing in people who will solve them later in life.