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Success Stories - U Calgary Students Hold Humanitarian Design Competetion

Humanitarian Grant Report by Kanishka Jayawardene, University of Calgary
Innovation for Humanity was a design competition intended to inspire and challenge students to develop the skills and the motivation essential to their future contribution to humanity. The design competition was put on to engage a wide range of students with the idea of building innovative technology for the betterment of humanity, and help create more well-rounded students.

University students competed in a design-based competition, which necessitated teamwork, analytical thought, resourcefulness, and a creative approach to handling a project's limitations. Although the majority of teams were comprised of students, the University division was open to anyone on campus who shared an enthusiasm for design. The event attracted individuals of different departments, skills, and perspectives, each of whom took the initiative to offer a unique solution to a common problem.


The students who showed up to compete in the design competition

The competition was accompanied by a presentation by Kurt Bryden from the Red Cross, in the field of applying technology towards global welfare. The design competition helped compel students to be innovative not only for their future career, but also for the benefit of humanity. This year, the focus was on logistical success and the student buy-in of the event. This will ensure that there will be interest in the future.

IEEE has a purpose to "foster" technological innovation and excellence to benefit humanity. Our project focuses on fostering the sense of creativity and innovation in today's youth, as an investment in the growth of technological innovation tomorrow. This design challenge's theme is "Innovation for Humanity." It focuses on how design, creativity, and innovation are needed for the betterment of society and for the advancement of humanity.


Everyone working on their designs


Students busy testing their wind generator design


Wind Generator Winning Design


Wind Generator Design--Second Place


Emergency Shelter Design--First Place


Emergency Shelter Design--Second Place

A survey was conducted to obtain participant feedback regarding the design competition. Approximately 85% of the respondents indicated that they would attend next year, and very positive feedback was received regarding the organization of the event. A vast number of participants said that they thoroughly enjoyed the design challenges and had great recommendations for improving challenges next year. Kurt Bryden was very well received by the students. The information delivered in the presentation was effective in engaging the students since the speaker addressed current events such as recent natural disasters, which students may only have heard of in the news and media. He also provided a very real-world and firsthand perspective on humanitarian aid as well as the technological and social challenges he encountered during his work with the Red Cross. Having listened to the speaker after completing a series of formidable challenges, the students were pleased to be informed that although their designs that day may not have had a direct impact on the world around them, their learning experiences most definitely would.

The event could not have been successful without the dedication of our volunteers who spent countless hours planning design challenges, promoting the event on and off campus, and ensuring logistical success of the event. The University of Calgary IEEE Student Branch would like to thank the IEEE Canadian Foundation and the IEEE Southern Alberta Section for their generous financial support, without which the event would not have been possible.


Our team of amazing volunteers, minus the photographer: (L-R) Mila Gorobets, Kassandra Rizopoulos ,
Marc Beaudin, Isabel Chan, Mike Yan, Photographer: Kanishka Jayawardene

Photos provided by Kanishka Jayawardene

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