Colorado School of Mines’ new cohort of University Innovation Fellows is focused on finding ways to increase connections among Mines students with similar interests outside the classroom.
Miguel Moreira, Anastasia Sjahputera, Jake Ropson and Keenan Urmann were among the 358 students from 96 universities in 16 countries who completed UIF training this fall. Run by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, the global program aims to empower students to become agents of change at their schools.
“UIF is a community that aligns with my passion for changing campus and shaping the university into something that I am proud to be a part of,” said Urmann, a mechanical engineering student. “This organization has provided me with a great network of individuals all across the world to support me in my efforts as well as provide feedback for any of my ideas.”
Among the ideas the new Mines fellows are working on is a student newsletter dedicated to sharing information about all the extracurricular clubs and activities that Mines has to offer.
Celebration of Mines is a great way to expose students to new opportunities, but it only happens once a year in the fall and once classes get moving, it can be easy to lose track of all the activities and events that sounded fun, said Moreira, a mining engineering student.
“People don’t really have time to look and search,” Moreira said. “But if there’s one place where you can see everything we have, it’s going to be so much easier to find.”
Helping Mines students more easily plug into extracurricular activities, they hope, could also help address the perception that Mines can be all work and no play.
“There is so much passion on this campus outside of academics but it kind of gets lost. Students work so hard that they sometimes give up on some of those passions,” Urmann said. “By highlighting some of the things that other people are doing on this campus, we hope students will be able to see that you don’t have to give up on the things you enjoy to be successful here.”
Another way they hope to bring like-minded students together is through a proposed theme learning community centered on entrepreneurship and innovation, said Ropson, a chemical engineering student.
The new residence hall set to begin construction this month and open in 2020 offers a great opportunity for more TLCs, he said.
“TLCs in general are really great because they bring similarly minded people together. When you start school, you lose track of a lot of things that are happening. People who are really interested in E&I at the beginning slowly lose that passion through schoolwork and other extracurriculars,” Ropson said. “Having a theme learning community that does activities and has people who continuously push each other to explore those areas keeps that ball rolling and doesn’t let it stop.”
Sjahputera, a chemical engineering major and a Harvey Scholar, said she heard about UIF from both her resident advisor Asya Sergoyan, also a University Innovation Fellow, and one of her fellow Harvey Scholars. They both encouraged her to join as a way to become more active on campus.
“I realized that during my freshman year, I wasn’t doing very much to get involved in the Mines community. Change starts at the micro level. You need to help the people around you before you help people on the other side of the world,” Sjahputera said. “I wanted to get with people who were thinking up a bunch of ideas and inspirations so I could jump on board and help.”
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