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Carolina Create-a-thon calls for student creativity

UNC Ideation, a newly-formed community of Carolina Creates, is giving students of all disciplines and interests a chance to collaborate and unleash creativity Saturday, February 28, at Carolina Create-a-thon. 

Carolina Create-a-thon is a free, 13-hour event, during which teams develop ideas to improve a part of UNC. It will begin at 9 a.m. in the Student Union and will end at 10:30 p.m. 

The idea resulted from a brainstorming session during the summer of 2014, when senior Amirah Jiwa, who has now stepped off the project, envisioned an event focused on creativity that would operate similar to Hackathons that have taken place at UNC, said sophomore Eryn Ratcliffe, UNC Ideation director. 

Student teams are expected to come up with ideas like events, products, apps, and plans for classes. There will be workshops throughout the day led by UNC professors, and both professors and industry experts will mentor teams through the process of developing their ideas.

At the end of the day, teams will pitch their ideas for judges to review. Food, drinks and t-shirts will be provided, as well as thousands of dollars worth of prizes for the most successful teams.

“The mission of the Carolina Create-a-thon is to prove that every student — regardless of year, major or skill set — is capable of creativity and using that creativity to improve Carolina,” said junior Emma Park, president of Carolina Creates. “Almost everyone has heard or said the phrase, ‘I’m not creative,’ but we want to disprove that.” 

Sophomore Ali Alford, who has worked on the developing team for the Create-a-thon, said she looks forward to the creativity that will result from students of different specialties and interests working together toward a solution. 

“I think it’s cool to see how those different disciplines can come together to work together and to be creative and make the definition of creativity more broad," Alford said. 

UNC Ideation is a Carolina Creates community focused on enabling creativity on UNC’s campus, said Ratcliffe. 

“UNC Ideation is a catch-all for students who want to create and come up with ideas but don’t necessarily have as specific a focus,” she said. 

Park said though the Create-a-thon is the largest project of UNC Ideation, the organization conducts other programs focused on fostering creativity.

“Our focus over the past few months has been planning the Create-a-thon, but after the event, we will be hosting workshops to teach students skills that could range from pottery to Photoshop as well as design dinners that will bring a diverse group of students together to ideate around their Carolina experience and how to improve it," she said. 

The project's developers hope to see this become an annual event on UNC’s campus.

“The vision is that this will be annual — that it will grow each year and it will become a name on campus,” Ratcliffe said. “It is really central to our whole mission that everyone is creative, so we want to see this event grow and have people go and get excited.”

The event’s capacity is 90 participants, and approximately 60 participants are currently signed up, said Park. Registration for Carolina Create-a-thon closes Saturday.

Register here:

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