New Opportunity for Community Engagement with Cash Prizes

Ready-Set-Go Contest Lunches at BC to ‘Highlight and Recognize Student Talent and Skills’

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  • On Jan. 25, the Learning Common’s launched a Ready-Set-Go contest for both graduate and undergraduate students who are currently enrolled at Bridgewater College. The purpose for this contest is to give students a platform to display their creativity and even win money prizes.

  • The first contest winner was announced on Feb. 5. Eastern Mennonite University alumnus and current graduate student in the MDMS program Sam Stoner won the $500 prize for his design sprint contest submission.

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Jackie Letaiugyang, Web Editor

Bridgewater, Va. – A new contest brought to the Bridgewater College community by the Learning Commons, the MDMS program, the CEL and the Class of 1968 Endowment was launched on Jan. 25. 

The Ready-Set-Go contest ad that was released on the launching day stated that the purpose of the contest is to “highlight and recognize student talent and skills.” The contest is open to both graduate and undergraduate students who are currently enrolled at BC. 

“The overall goal for the contest is quite simple,” said Director of the Learning Commons Andrew Pearson. “We wanted to be able to provide a platform for our students’ creativity, specifically in the digital medium.”

The Contest is Set-up in Two Separate Parts 

The first part is a design sprint contest where students design a limited edition t-shirt to help promote the second part of the contest. The winner will be awarded a $500 price. 

The t-shirts will then be distributed to anyone at BC. However, Pearson said he has not come up with a way in which to distribute the t-shirts yet.  

According to Pearson, there were five students who submitted their work for the design sprint contest, but that was before the submission date, which was Jan. 29. 

Among those five students is Eastern Mennonite University alumnus and current graduate student in the MDMS program Sam Stoner, who was announced on Feb. 5 as the winner of the design sprint contest. 

“I was very surprised to hear that I won,” said Stoner. “I thought I had read the instruction that they will release the winner the Friday before they actually announced it. When I didn’t hear anything, I thought I didn’t win but then I suddenly got the email saying I won.” 

With $500, Stoner said part of him wants to upgrade his tablet for better designing work but in the meantime, the prize money will be deposited into his savings account.   

The second part of the contest is a one-to-three minute video answering the question “Why I love Bridgewater College?” Students are encouraged to submit a video of why they love Bridgewater College, using words from the college’s motto: goodness, truth, beauty and harmony. 

Pearson said because the submission deadline for the second part of the contest is not until the beginning of March, it is hard to tell how many students will enter the contest. 

Pearson encourages students to enter the contest saying “You can lose nothing, but you can gain $500.” 

The first prize for the video contest is another $500. The second prize is $200 and the third prize is $100. 

The Theme and The Planning

The theme for this year’s contest is community

“The COVID-19 landscape we have faced in the last 12 months has been a test to community,” said Pearson. “I can’t think of anything better than the resolve and resiliency of the people here at BC that have shown the desire that even given a pandemic, we are still a community.”

“I didn’t go to BC as an undergrad but I have always felt a sense of community at EMU so to do a design based on the theme of community, I was excited and ready to use what I have learned to create something for the contest,” said Stoner.

The planning for the contest started in December. The idea was inspired by an annual “Why I Love Purdue Libraries Annual Video Contest” by Perdue University. 

Pearson said with the process of renovating the Learning Commons, he had to hold pitching the idea until December. 

Professor of History & Political Science and Director of the CEL Jamie Frueh was a recipient of the email Pearson sent out. 

“I’m very glad that [Pearson] included me in the email because this sort of opportunity for engagement is just what the Center for Engaged Learning is designed to promote,” Frueh wrote in an email. “The CEL supports innovative initiatives that build what we call “moments of engagement.” Moments of engagement are those instances when you are completely engrossed in something challenging that you have chosen to embrace.” 

Frueh represents both the CEL and the Class of 1968 Endowment sponsorship. 

Submissions for the contests are judged by Director of the MDMS program and Assistant Professor of English Sam Hamilton, Practitioner in Residence of Art Ronald Alabanza, Frueh and Pearson. 

“The first thing I noticed is the high level of creativity and talent among BC students,” wrote Frueh. “Evaluating the entries for the first phase was enjoyable and picking a winner was very difficult because of the high quality of the work. I guess you could call it a moment of engagement for me.” 

Pearson hopes that this could be an annual event but he said he will just have to wait and see how this one contest turns out. So far, it has attracted a comparable number of students to intramural sports in the past semester.