Team Code Force wants to solve Colorado’s shortage of skilled computer employees by developing a computer science plan in public schools. Team Wasteless wants to reduce the plastic waste coming out of local restaurants, starting with Chipotle. And the Crazy Composters want to minimize the amount of food waste that goes into landfills.
“We throw away a third of the food we produce,” the Crazy Composters shared during their presentation to a panel of judges during a pitch competition for the Pioneering Business for the Public Good course. “America throws away enough food to feed Africa for a year.”
Every 20 minutes, a new team cycled in and out of one of three rooms in Margery Reed Hall Friday, pitching its idea to a panel of judges to address a societal issue. A total of 31 teams delivered pitches in the final competition for the business core course.
“The class gives you the bigger picture,” said Michael Young, a Daniels junior. “We start with the Gateway course as freshman, but then go into our specialties. This course brings it all together.”
The students are team-taught across disciplines, with management faculty Kathleen Novak, Paul Seaborn, Skip Spensley and Dennis Wittmer, and business ethics and legal studies faculty Don Mayer and Tricia Olsen. Students are exposed to course content related to stakeholder analysis, systems mapping, design thinking, project management and risk/impact analysis.
“They have to understand the complexity of the issues,” Novak said. “As the students learned, a wide-variety of people already play in the space and the students are in charge of identifying a niche.”
Teams identified issues in a multitude of areas: physical fitness, transportation, education, environmental projection, homelessness, drug addition, election reform and gun violence. Depending on their approach, the teams were divided into three categories: entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship or public partnership.
Judges selected a top team in each category with each winner receiving $500.
The winning teams were:
- Desalination (Entrepreneurship Pathway)
- Women’s Rights and Homelessness (Intrapreneurship Pathway)
- PrepU (Public Partnership Pathway)
Team Wasteless didn’t win its category, but the team felt the course was great way to bring Daniels’ mission to the forefront.
“Corporate social responsibility runs through every part of business,” Caitlin Hood said. “Even though I’m studying business analytics, I can see how I could participate in CSR into the company culture of my future employer.”
Daniels would like to thank the judges who participated: Melissa Akaka, Michael Caston, John Hill, Sarah Lesynski, Adam Melnick, David Miller, Steve Musick, Stephen Pook, Marcie Prokupek and Dan Sweeney.