VT campaign seeks solutions from students for a safe reopening this fall

Jake Lavitt, a junior in computational modeling and data analytics in the College of Science, is doing his part in the fight against COVID-19 as co-founder of America’s Masks, a sewing company based in his hometown of Charlotte. He and his brother, Brandon, started the company to help provide personal protective equipment to those in need during the pandemic.

In conjunction with the TECH Together Campaign, the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Seed Fund have initiated a campus-wide competition open to Virginia Tech students.

They are seeking proposals for creative, innovative and integrated solutions for a safe reopening of Virginia Tech campuses this fall.

The competition was proposed by two faculty members, Ron Fricker, professor of statistics and an associate dean in the College of Science, and Laura Hungerford, professor and head of the Department of Population Health Sciences.

“Virginia Tech students and faculty are exceptionally talented. The goal of this competition is to bring all of that talent to bear on the challenge of best preparing for the fall semester,” said Fricker.

“Throughout our Virginia Tech community, people have been thinking about ways their ideas could help control COVID-19,” said Hungerford. “This competition gives a place to share and invest in innovative ideas to keep the campuses and our surrounding communities safe. This is transformative Ut Prosim in action.”

The competition is underway now with the winning proposals in five different areas to be announced on Aug. 19. Each of the winning students will receive a grand prize of $4,000 to go toward implementation of the proposal.

Student proposals for creative and innovative ideas in five key areas will be evaluated: 1) Students will propose novel solutions to minimize COVID-19 spread among the university population and surrounding communities. 2) Students will design programs that extend the spirit of Ut Prosim to guard and protect the most vulnerable members of our on- and off-campus community from the virus. 3) Students will develop ideas, methods, and techniques to help make contact identification more efficient, allowing contact tracers to do their jobs more quickly and effectively. 4) Students will generate novel surveillance ideas to help Virginia Tech more successfully detect the presence of the virus and/or COVID-19 cases, both on and off campus. 5)

Students will design social, technical, and/or programmatic solutions for operating facilities where students gather on campus to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

more recommended stories