Jan 14 2014

Student Contest

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Nor Any Drop to Drink?

Securing the Future of Monterey County’s Fresh Water Supply

 An Interdisciplinary Innovation Challenge for Teams of MIIS Students

First Prize:  $2500

Second Prize:  $500


Monterey County faces critical fresh water challenges. Some experts argue we are very near absolute limits to growth in agriculture, business, touristic, and domestic use. As the county’s aquifers are tapped, salt water from the ocean infiltrates, contaminating drinking and irrigation supplies. A local problem, yes.  But one growing in many localities around the globe. To foster creative thinking, MIIS will organize an “innovation challenge” for Spring 2014.  We seek ideas that are:

  • sustainable across future generations
  • progressive regarding economic growth
  • affordable
  • socially, economically, and politically just, and
  • compelling to local stakeholders

A panel of external judges will select winners in late April 2014.  Among the judges will be local stakeholders, so the practical value and feasibility of the idea to them will be critical to your success.

How Do You Participate?

You form interdisciplinary teams of 3-5 people.  Team composition is crucial:  what are the package of skills, knowledge, backgrounds….and classes in the Spring that will best position you to win?   Teams will need to register for the competition by February 8.  One person on your team can be from another university, community college, or vocational school in the county.

What Kind of Ideas Are We Looking For?

Your idea might be a for-profit business that creatively addresses our county’s water challenges.  It might be a new public policy, a new nonprofit initiative.  Or it might defy such standard categories.  Most important though:   your idea needs to be based on in-depth understanding of the context, on the best available evidence, and on rigorous analysis.

Beyond Coursework

The competition aims to encourage students to reach across degree silos, enhance collaboration, capitalize on a variety of classes, and promote interdisciplinarity. Short, non-credit bearing skill building events will be held at DLC during non-class hours. We will organize a series of late afternoon/early evening campus conversations with key informants, experts, and stakeholders. The more your team participates in these, the better your chances of winning. But to win, you will also need to do extensive independent research, engage with stakeholders on your own, and build your team’s understanding of this “Wicked Water Problem.” 

Key Dates

If you have any questions, send them to Kent Glenzer (kglenzer@miis.edu).


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