Author: Emily Shugerman
Students took ten hours out of their weekend to tackle issues of communication and sustainability at Occidental at the Innovate Oxy problem solving event last Saturday. The event was hosted by the student club Oxypreneurship, which works in conjunction with Diplomacy and World Affairs (DWA) professor Sanjeev Khagram to promote entrepreneurial education on campus. According to Oxypreneurship Treasurer Cynthia Brzezinski (sophomore), the club sought to bring students together at this event to create solutions for pressing campus issues.
“The goal of the day was to empower students to feel as though they were capable of doing more, to make them feel that they were capable of taking common problems at Oxy and solving them collaboratively and analytically in a way that provided really satisfying results for everyone,” Oxypreneurship founder and DWA major Alex Keat (sophomore) said.
In service of this goal, Oxpreneurship invited the entire college to attend the 10-hour problem solving event on campus. Members of the student body who attended were joined by Oxypreneurship club members and students
in the one-unit DWA 150 class on entrepreneurship. Course instructor Professor Sanjeev Khagram helped oversee the event and provided guidance to participants throughout the day. Occidental staff members Jim Tranquada and Bruce Steele were also in attendance to provide professional insight.
The day started at 10 a.m. when participants arrived and began identifying major institutional problems. The students were later divided into two groups to focus on the two main problems they identified, sustainability and communication, and even further divided into groups based on the solutions they created for these issues. After spending the bulk of the day working through these solutions in small groups, students presented their ideas to the full group in a closing session.
The closing session allowed students to display the fruits of their labor and inspire other students to support them in implementing their ideas. Potential solutions to issues of communication ranged from a video broadcast of the root to a Pinterest-style website for organizing event invitations. To improve sustainability on campus, student groups suggested a college farmers’ market or the addition of a sustainability education session during Orientation week.
Many participants expressed interest in carrying out these ideas after the event ended.
“We plan to reach out to other professors, work with Oxypreneurship and reach out to Professor Khagram as a mentor,” economics major Emily Heath (sophomore) said of her group’s plan for implementing their solution.
Still other students were looking farther ahead, thinking of the potential for these kinds of events in the following years.
“I just think when I graduate Oxy I’m going to come back as an alum and this room is going to be packed,” economics major Maddie Caldemeyer (sophomore) said. “This is the start of something huge.”
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