Priorities:Marshall University Student Priorities

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Student Priorities

2022 Cohort

Strategy #1: Spreading Innovation to Students and organizations

At Marshall university many organizations struggle with getting involvement amongst other things. We would like to provide a Design thinking workshop to organizations on campus that are struggling. Those who take the workshop will receive one-on-one guidance from a student innovation ambassador, personalized workshop for your organization, training on how to solve problems to improve their organization. In the workshop we plan to cover deep customer empathy, broad-to-narrow thinking on ideas, and rapid experiments. For deep customer empathy we will ask club members to talk to other students about how attending their events made them feel and why they did not want to come back or why they did not want to join to begin with. We will then ask club members to take what they learned from talking to others to form an idea or series of ideas and narrow them down to one by lastly engaging in rapid experimentation to get ideas from others about their new idea to then move forward and improve upon it. At the end of the whole process, we will offer the club members who participated to become an innovation fellow. Therefore, every single student/organization on campus can make a difference for the Marshall Community.

Strategy #2 Centralizing and Promoting Funding and Research on Campus:

Going through College, I've found it hard to find research and funding resources. Most students are offered opportunities directly from professors through email chains, or by posters in the hallways. In most people's cases, these opportunities come to them, not the other way, making it hard for those searching for them. These methods are largely obsolete, arguably restrictive, and could be greatly improved.

Our goal is to create a platform to centralize and promote these opportunities. It is our belief that a single source of funding and research opportunities would increase the number of candidates and better market the individual opportunities. By casting a wider net of candidates, researchers and organizations have a wider pool of talent to choose from, and vice versa in terms of students choosing opportunities.

Strategy #3: Increasing Sustainability Efforts while Improving Region's Economic Development

Marshall University is located in Huntington, which is the second largest city in West Virginia, and a hub of business and economic development for the state. Recent economic advancement efforts have aided in increasing opportunities for the state, and one reoccurring theme among different initiatives is an increased awareness of sustainability. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals were designed in 2015 as a way to measure progress towards attaining a more sustainable planet; West Virginia currently ranks 49/50 of all states in terms of progression towards attaining these goals.

A strategy to continue to help increase economic development while helping the environment and achieve these goals would be to create a council with representatives from both public sector and private sector sustainability organizations and universities across the state, starting with Marshall University. This plan would ultimately create a positive impact for both the earth and our region's economy. Each semester/year, the council will be focused on a different sustainable development goal, with the first year being focused on number 8: "sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all". Students would be heavily involved with the project by voicing concerns from the overall student body and bringing fresh perspectives.  

2019 Cohort

Strategy #1: Introducing Entrepreneurship to Everyone

At Marshall University, First Year Seminar is a required class that every student must take, normally in their first semester. This is a critical thinking course designed to teach lifelong learning through critical, integrative, intercultural, inquiry based, and metacognitive thinking. The goal of this class is to start practicing using the tools and skills that any college graduate will need in work and life.

Many students believe that if they are business majors, they do not need to be introduced to Entrepreneurship or Innovation. Our first strategy is to include Design Thinking into every First Year Seminar. Therefore, every single student can use innovation and entrepreneurship in their everyday life, regardless of their major. This can lead to students focusing on the impact and as a result, making a difference in the community.

Strategy #2: Pre-seed Funding for Entrepreneurial Students

Marshall University’s Entrepreneurship program focuses on innovative solutions for big problems. Our university successfully inspires creativity and innovation in entrepreneurial students, yet students struggle with finding financial funding to begin their startup. Our second strategy is called Startup Marshall, which is a way for Entrepreneurship students to create their own pre-seed fund and grow their funds through alumni donations. 

Startup Marshall is an optional program for Entrepreneurship students. Each semester, students who opt-in the program, are accessed a $250 fee each semester. This fee funds into an account that the entrepreneurship major can use for the development of their startup during college and after they graduate. By opening an account, alumni can view a student’s profile. The profile indicates the student’s major, passions, skills, and interests. Alumni can then donate to student accounts. This strategy is an effort to increase the startup culture at Marshall University and ensure that students have the funds to start their own businesses. 

Kelly Leonard will lead this project but will need the assistance of fellow students, McKenna Sunderland and Annika Benke. 

Strategy #3: Increasing Accessiblity to iCenter

Marshall University has an entrepreneurship major and minor that only business students can access. Entrepreneurial students, whether they be engineers, designers, manufacturers, do not have access to I&E mentoring and coaching. To help bridge this gap, Marshall University’s Lewis College of Business opened the iCenter. The iCenter is an innovation center that any student or community member can receive design thinking workshops and help with their startup. 

Currently, the iCenter is renovating spaces in the business hall. The iCenter, however, does not have open office hours for those seeking help with their businesses. Our priority is to open visiting hours and create ways to make the iCenter accessible for everyone. We want to create online workshops so students and community members can access them at any time.

Strategy #4: Small Business Crawl

All great ideas start with a spark. While Marshall University is beginning to get the resources that it needs to allow students to pursue these ideas, we must also provide the inspiration. Entrepreneurs come from a variety of different backgrounds, and we want to encourage all of Marshall’s students, regardless of their major, to incorporate entrepreneurship into their lives, too!

Our fourth strategy, the Small Business Crawl, invites students to spend the evening visiting several different local small businesses. At each visit, they will learn the story of how the business began, challenges that they’ve faced, and ways that they’ve solved problems. Not only will this help to spark students’ imaginations, it will also help to provide them with contacts in the community that they can reach out to should they need assistance. In this way, we can work to create more local businesses in our area, and further both intellectual and economic growth.


Marshall University  

Marshall University Student Priorities

2019 Fellows:

Kelly Leonard

Annika Behnke

McKenna Sunderland