The Entrepreneur Club at Virginia Tech hosted their 5 th Built With: ______ event on Friday, October 7, 2016. The second floor of the New Classroom Building was taken over by white boards, sticky notes, creative students, and an innovative spirit. There were 129 students who attended the event between 6:00 – 11:30pm.
Built With: ______, a once-per- semester event hosted by E-Club, first began in April of 2014. The event is a space for students of any major to come together and combine different skill sets in the effort to create something special.
When students first arrive, they write 5 of their unique “skills” on sticky notes and place them in categories on a wall. For instance, my skills are: writing, rhetorical analysis (ethos, pathos, logos, and exigence), poetry, public speaking, and baking. Other students’ skills include CAD, Python, MATLAB, robotics, iOS development, graphic design, and many more. Each of the skills are placed under general categories on the wall, such as Business, Art, Design, Engineering, and Miscellaneous.
After placing their own skills in the corresponding categories, attendees then are encouraged to walk around and observe several ideation grids that contain “a technology on one axis and a customer on the other,” said David Evans, President of E-Club. “In the intersection, teams can generate solutions that combine the two.” Using sticky notes again, students write their solutions on the grids, allowing others to explore and expand on these new ideas as well.
After becoming inspired by a concept on a grid (or having come prepared with a new idea), students then buckle down with a dry erase board and brainstorm. Many attendees mill around, asking what others are doing and getting involved in the numerous projects. Once these projects begin to form, the students can walk up to the previously mentioned skills wall and locate the area in which they need help. An E-Club host then calls out the information on the sticky note and introduces the two parties.
An open mic is available every hour on the hour for students to pitch their projects, ask the room for assistance, or invite others to expand on their ideas. Each Built With: ______ event also includes workshops to help develop students’ skills, and the “crash courses” taught Friday night were: Industrial Design, Adobe After Effects, The Art of a Pitch, and a general Recap and Share.
Built With: ______ has an atmosphere of organized chaos – students and community members come together to, as their website says, “meet, ideate, build, learn, and create.” It is a creative space to bring unique skill sets to the table, collaborate with students wired with different skills, and create something unique. Colorful sticky notes cover the walls and dry erase markers fly as Built With: ______ attendees take advantage of the opportunity to produce something great, if not just a new idea.
For any interested in participating in this creative event, keep an eye out for next semester’s Built With: ______ 6.