Thanksgiving Eve – what better time to reflect on the semester as part of the Haas Undergraduate Cohort Program, newly revamped for the Class of 2014 and for years beyond. Case competitions, pizza in the Haas courtyard, Halloween cupcakes and candy…and then November. That time of the year when the semester seems to fold in on itself, with stress running high and the holidays seemingly in reach.
Enter the Cohort New Ideas Challenge, an event offering undergrads the opportunity to share their views on how to improve the undergraduate experience at Haas. Despite the business of this time of year, undergraduates still presented innovative offerings. In attendance at the finals were a panel of judges, officers of HBSA, and Cohort Leaders. Garnering a close second was an effort from the Oski Cohort, with the idea of mentorship between alumni and current undergraduates by the name of HIP: Haas Inspire Program. Presenters championed a “Cycle of Giving” that would simultaneously engage and bolster the Haas community through simple monthly meetings and per-semester mixer events among alumni and students.
In first place was Campanile Cohort, with a series of 4 tech-driven platforms:
- Standardization across computing systems around Haas (think printing from any device at any time)
- Moving to the Cloud with a Haas Dropbox account
- Bringing social media into play to facilitate communication among students and professors
- A mobile application that would bring a comprehensive suite of services to our fingertips (such as reserving rooms and scheduling or registering for events)
Especially interesting was the suggestion of developing the mobile application during a joint effort between Haas and the campus community – a Hack-a-thon at Haas.
HBSA president Tyler Wishnoff reflected that the New Ideas Challenge tested students’ ability to Question the Status Quo in asking them to identify an issue at the Haas School, but beyond that, to be able to present a creative solution to that problem. Amidst midterms and papers and interviews, the New Ideas Challenge evidences the strength of stewardship at Haas and the remarkable enterprise the school’s students.
Behind the school-wide impact of the Cohort Program are the efforts of some truly remarkable Cohort Leaders. I was fortunate enough to speak on the panel of Haas Info Session: Student Perspectives, an event spearheaded by Angie Ngo of Axe Cohort. A joint effort from the Incentive by Awards Program and Student Life Advising Services (SLAS)/Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), the event brought together Pre-Haas underclassman with current Haas students over food and casual conversation.
The open floor discussion was intimate and eye-opening.My fellow panelists, many of which were Cohort Leaders, came from such diverse backgrounds and were driven by such diverse interests. It is not often that we as undergraduates hear one another speak about our path to Haas, so often are we looking forward to our internship and career goals that we don’t look back on the pursuits that are so essential to who we are today.
So before I stuff my face with turkey and potatoes and cornbread and pumpkin-baked goodness, a few words of thanks: Thank you, my fellow undergraduates, for being thinkers and movers at Haas, across campus, and whatever amazing things in which you may be involved. Thanks to Angie for holding a decidedly intimate and warm event that benefited the attendees as much as the panelists and for gathering together us Cohort Leaders in reaching out to the Pre-Haas community. Last but not least, thank you to everyone involved in the Cohort Program for a great start to the academic year – may our plans for next semester blossom into even greater gatherings.