A multidisciplinary team of students comprised of three Community & Regional Planning students and two McCombs School of Business undergraduates was recently awarded second place in the first annual George Kozmetsky Memorial Student Challenge. Organized by The University of Texas at Austin’s IC2 Institute, the Student Challenge invited multidisciplinary student teams to investigate small or remote Texas cities to come up with creative ideas for increasing prosperity and the quality of life in those communities.
UTSOA’s student team chose Menard, Texas as their city of investigation – a <1,500 population town located 140 miles west of Austin on the banks of the San Saba River. Students had over a month to familiarize themselves with their chosen town, but were only given a day and a half to prepare a recommendation and presentation on a surprise situation for their town. As a part of their research, the team traveled to Menard to conduct a SWOT workshop with town leaders, and to distribute a survey to residents. Based on that research and the competition prompt, they presented a three-prong investment strategy for Menard via Zoom during the Student Challenge competition finals on Saturday, April 4. Their recommendations included investing in programs to empower residents, rebuilding infrastructure, and investing in aquaponic grown food production as an export industry.
The Menard student team includes Community & Regional Planning students Kathryn Johansen and Scott Winton, Community & Regional Planning and Urban Design dual degree student Heath Edwards, and McCombs School of Business undergraduate students Kaitlyn Harris and Jocelyn Yao.
For more information about the IC2 Institute Student Challenge and to watch the video of the team’s presentation visit: https://ic2.utexas.edu/news/the-first-annual-ic%C2%B2-student-challenge-was-held-online-winners-announced/