Tuesday, November 14, 2017 ‘Pitch A Program’ offers student organizations up to $10,000
Winners of the 'Pitch A Program' competition, members of Define American, Latino Graduate Student Assembly & Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers
Modeled after the popular television show “Shark Tank,” the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s new ‘Pitch A Program’ invited Recognized Student Organizations to pitch ideas for student programs with the winner earning funding to bring the program to life.
From the 23 RSO submissions, judges selected eight semi-finalists for 30-minute panel interviews. From the pool of eight, judges Veronica Riepe, director of Student Involvement; Kat Kuczaj, coordinator for training and assessment in Student Involvement; and a representative from Union Bank and Trust narrowed the pool to four finalists.
On Wednesday, Nov. 1, finalists had seven minutes to perform their pitches for a live audience and celebrity judges Tyler Thomas of University Communications, Nicole Sweigard of UBT, Mac Benavides of University Program Council, and Executive Vice Chancellor Donde Plowman. A seven-minute question period for judges and audience members followed the presentation.
Project presentations included:
- Gumbo & Soul: Creative Expressions Through Cultural Diversity by Black Graduate Student Association – a poetry slam and talent show to unite the university, including students from all backgrounds.
- Hear Ted Talk: A Leadership Explosion by Nebraska Sports Officials Association – a speaking event with Ted Wiese to motivate students to believe they can make a positive impact on those around them.
- Exploring Our Roots: A Week Dedicated to the Diversity of Our Stories by Define American, Latino Graduate Student Assembly & Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers – a week-long celebration of culture, diversity and solidarity through art displays, film screenings and guest speakers.
- The Resilient Women of Color Conference by Resilient Women – a conference seeking to provide young women with the tools necessary to become successful, confident leaders of tomorrow.
The contest rules required that all proposed programs take place on the University of Nebraska campus, be sponsored by Recognized Student Organizations in compliance and suggested that any events take place in February or March 2018.
Programs were evaluated based on campus need, creativity of the event, event logistics and the pitch itself. Audience votes via text counted for 50 percent of the final score, while judges’ preferences counted for the other half.
In the end, 'Exploring Our Roots: A Week Dedicated to the Diversity of Our Stories' by Define American, Latino Graduate Student Assembly & Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers was selected as the winner. The RSOs will receive a sponsorship of up to $10,000 toward their event which is expected to take place in February 2018.
“I was extremely pleased with the number of applications we received since this was the first time doing an event like this," said Veronica Riepe, director of Student Involvement. "I am thrilled to begin the planning process with the winning team. It is an ambitious week of events, but with efforts of the three RSOs involved, I have no doubt they will be successful.”
Student Involvement hopes to host ‘Pitch A Program’ again next fall with continued financial support from Union Bank & Trust.