Priorities:George Mason University Student Priorities
George Mason University has been taking great strides to support Innovation and Entrepreneurship on campus. So far, there are multiple organization and spaces open for students.
- MIX (Mason Innovation Exchange)
- Opening this October, The MIX will act as a open space for both Mason Students and the local community (on weekends) to have access to equipment such as 3D printers, microcontroller library and much more.
- This space is student-run and also will host competitions and workshops.
- Innovation Lab
- Run by the School of Business, Innovation Lab is a 2 month program that helps students and alumni develop a focused business plan and a MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
- Startup Mason
Strategy 1: Increase Awareness of current I&E
George Mason has several resources to offer, but often times our students are unaward of them or who to contact. Projects are interdisciplinary and will almost always require insight from different areas of study in order to succeed. We want to see more involvement in our clubs, especially now with the establishment of the Mason Innovation Exchange.
Fliers and listsev emails are the most common ways of advertising on campus. This can be effective, and attract the people who are looking, but with a school of three campuses and over 33,000 students this can only go so far.
Task 1: Expand visiting lecture programs
George Mason has a TEDx program that hosts muliplte speakers in addition to an anual conference. Inviting a successful entrepreneur/startup in the DC area, or a Mason alum to give a talk would be an excellent way to inspire students.
Task 2: Pitches in classrooms
Making short pitches in business and engineering courses is the most direct way to engage with students and advertise I&E opportunities around campus. A simple and effectivep pitch is a cheap but powerful tool. Our fellows do have limited time and scheduling visits with professors must be done well in advance.
Strategy 2: Introduce new (zero-credit to start) Course
Innovation requires collaboration. Creating and running a company requires brining in diverse skill sets to complete a variety of different tasks. Why keep students within their respective schools for most of their college careers then?
Many majors have senoior capstone or design courses, and while these are useful and often times require a few years of experience and knowledge to complete, it may be worth while to create an early stage design class. This one will be interdisciplinary, with the intention of forging creative and strong relationships with different schools and majors early on.
Task 1: meet with target departments
Task 2: develop course outline
Task 3: gauge opinion of students (lean startup, right?!)
Strategy 3: Interdisciplinary app/web building organization
This idea was inspired by successful projects at other schools. This institution would operated as a quasi-business under control of the university. Students would be selected through a hiring process and work on projects in three main categories:
1) app and web development
2) web and graphic design
3) maintenaince and analytics
Students can earn money, develop connections, and build a portfolio that will help secure successful jobs upon graduation. It also serves as a focal point for others who lack programming experience to seek out assistance on projects and business ideas. Foreign students have much to gain as well, as their visas prohibit work outside of the school. Because this would be a part of the university, we can provide solid, career related work.
Task 1: Meet with relevant groups and departments
Task 2: Recruit members
Task 3: Draft proposal to send to Provost and departments
Task 4: Pound the pavement and use school networks to assemble client list
Task 5: Seek out partnerships - Google Partners, establish Google Developers Group
Task 6: Develop school hackathon
Strategy 4: Centralized website
There is a very basic structure website (makers.onmason.com) that currenly serves as our hub for resources and groups on campus. This could use a little revamp into something more user and mobile friendly, and that provides more information. Ideally, every project, place, group, etc. that relates to I&E would get their own web page(s). This would be easier to acchomplish with the above mentioned strategy and could possibly serve as a first project.
Task 1: scout for (and secure) talent
Mason SRCT (student run computing and technology), web/graphic design courses are the first places to recruit.
Task 2: contact relevent organizations, projects, and people
This is meant to be a central online hub for students to connect and learn about everythign I&E on campus, which means that every relevant stakeholder should have a spot. These include
- RSOs (registered student organizations)
- Innovation Lab
- Inventors Club
- Startup Mason
- Startup Vixens
- Business Plan Competition
- Pragmatics Pitch (LITE)
- Center for I&E
- Center for Social Entrepreneurship
- External workspaces (1776, MEC, Nova Labs)
- many more...
Task 3: secure funding from school
Students will be paid for their work, both for construction and maintainence. Funding could come from departments, the Provost office, or grants offered through a few departments. The Auxiliary Enterprises grant is one particular option, and awards funding for projects that fall within the school's mission statement.
Strategy 5: Create I&E Living and Learning Community (LLC)
George Mason has a Business and Economics living and learning community for freshman. Expanding this to incorporate other years and a more entrepreneurial curriculum/atmoshper will allow students at various levels and backgrounds to become involved in our growing I&E environment. Students at various experience levels can mentor the younger members, and the multidisciplinary approach will allows the program to be much more comprehensive - from idea generation, construction, and depolyment.
Strategy 6: Mason I&E Fellows/ University Innovation Freshman
Another project we as a team plan to pursue is to create a Mason-run Innovation and Entreprenuership cohort. The proposal is to bring in a team of students early on as freshmans or sophmores and through their time as Mason students, have them plan and execute projects all over campus that promote innovation and entreprenuerhip. This plan's objective is to make I&E part of the Mason culture and in addition to have a self-sustaining model.
Task 1: Develop guidelines/curriculum - mission statement
Task 2: Develop projects and initiatives for students to pursue
Task 2: Advertise in specific courses