Four North Dakota State students are striving to change the landscape of campus. They even have an office of their own to show for it.
The quartet makes up NDSU’s University Innovation Fellows chapter. They are celebrating National Entrepreneurial Month this November.
Funded by the National Science Foundation in partnership with Stanford University and VentureWell, a nonprofit, the nationally renowned program is in its second year at NDSU.
Over 150 students from 85 schools create UIF.
After receiving faculty nomination, a student completes Skype conversations and assignments to gain acceptance.
Jacob Larson, a junior studying mechanical engineering, was one of three juniors inducted to the group this year.
Interdisciplinary teamwork is promoted through UIF.
“Promotes student-led innovation and entrepreneurship organizations through campus,” Larson said. “We want to break down barriers and improve things on campus.”
The four have individual and team goals called “moonshots.”
Larson’s said his moonshot focuses on integrating students and labs at NDSU.
He said student access to labs is limited to specific majors, not allowing possible teamwork.
As a whole, UIF at NDSU wants to lay the foundation for bigger dreams.
“Basically, our overall moonshot goal today is to create a culture on campus where students want to create and develop entrepreneurial and innovative ideas,” he said. “We are improving campus for those who want to create.”
Communication and networking is important for UIF, too.
UIF traveled to Washington D.C. recently to meet with other UIF chapters for workshops. Plans to travel to Stanford and Silicon Valley are in the plans for the winter.
Larson said the group wants to get students involved in organizations earlier in their careers. “It’s definitely a student-led movement. If students show the interest, the faculty will follow,” Larson said. “Go out there and do things, and, if you need help, approach faculty.”
UIF meets in their office at 5:30 p.m. Mondays in the basement of Barry Hall.