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Students Compete in Salem Civic Challenge

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Written by Jack Miller

On Saturday, Nov. 23, Roanoke College hosted the 2nd annual Salem Civic Challenge. This event was a collaboration among the city of Salem, the RC Center for Leadership and Entrepreneurial Innovation (CLEI), and the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO) club. This challenge was open to all RC students with the aim of helping solve community issues.

Students from all kinds of majors faced off in front of judges as well as experts from the City of Salem Economic Development Department to compete for their share of 1000 dollars in prize money. The students were presented with an issue currently being faced by the residents of Salem and other areas. They were then allowed time to brainstorm and develop creative and new ideas to assist in solving these problems and more within the community.

The question posed to the teams was, “How can Salem attracted young professionals?” The city was interested in attracting these professionals to help develop and grow the area’s local economy. The teams were then given three hours in order to discuss, plan, and develop an ingenious way to solve this question. A multitude of answers were given, but ultimately some solutions that the judges really enjoyed involved assisting to fund individuals who have ideas but lack in fiscal ability or opportunities. The way to fund these individuals, the winning team suggested, was to offer college loan repayment for professionals living in the community.

The coordinator of the event, business professor and CLEI director Steve Baker, said that the intent of this event was to bring together students from separate areas of discipline in order to unite around the promotion of common local good and development. All students are welcome to compete, and all students share in the goal of bettering their community.

One of this year’s winners, Evan Shuck, shared his experience with the Challenge. 

“It was a positive experience to compete to solve a problem outside of the classroom setting” said Shuck. “I would recommend it to anyone, regardless of major.”

Congratulations to the winners of the second annual Salem Civic Challenge: Evan Shuck (SR), Connor Chiulli (SR), and Sam Watson (SR). Runner-ups included Ashley Eagleson (SR), Janny Alvarado (SR), Carolyn Kitsock (SR), Garret Ruggieri (SR) as well as Brice Hall (JR), Johnson Mihaly (SR), Claudia Jacobs (SR), and Owen Gold (SR).