10,000 Makes Makeathon

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

While preparing for the second annual Makeathon, my team has been thinking about how to directly engage undergraduate students in the Grand Challenges initiative, a key strategic priority at the University of Minnesota. The trouble is that the Grand Challenges are hard. We’re talking about 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 a student seeking a four-year degree.

So why are we daring students to create a prototype addressing a Grand Challenge in only two days? Simply, we believe 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 don’t expect any Grand Challenges to be solved at the 10,000 Makes Makeathon, but we know we are investing in the people who will solve them later in life.