Beyond Organic founder Will Allen explains the benefits of growing hemp and how it can help farmers.
Beyond Organic founder Will Allen explains the benefits of growing hemp and how it can help farmers.

   How can Ripon College address rural poverty and its ecological consequences in Fond du Lac County?

   This was the challenge posed to Ripon College’s Catalyst students at the Applied Innovation Hackathon event during the college’s first Catalyst Day.

    Students answered this challenge with many ideas; however, the two prize-winning proposals focused on problems facing low-income students at the elementary level and teaching self-sufficient skills to those in need.

    The hackathon involved nominated sophomore, junior and senior students who competed as teams against each other in a collaborative, problem-solving event, which was designed to showcase the skills they learned through the Catalyst curriculum.

   The teams had one hour to come up with innovative solutions and create a four-minute proposal and a 90-second proposal, which they would present before judges in round 1 and round 2, respectively.

    The four finalist teams then offered their proposal before a new panel of judges, comprised of Ed Wingenbach, acting president and dean of faculty; Will Allen, former professional basketball player and founder of Beyond Organic; Stephanie Prellwitz, executive director of the Green Lake Association; and Alain Engelschenschilt, vice president of global engineering innovation with Alliance Laundry Systems LLC.

   Read the full story, which includes the two prize-winning student proposals, in the May 2, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.