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U of O chooses five winners of their annual ideas contest

Jesse Mellott | Fulcrum Staff

Ideas are a dime a dozen—everybody has had at least one that they hoped would be the next big thing. One thing is for sure: when a truly great idea comes along, it deserves to be celebrated.
That’s where the University of Ottawa’s Good !deas (Ideas) contest comes in.
On April 2, the U of O named five students as the winners of the annual Good Ideas competition. Students submit ideas that they feel will improve student life on campus, and a jury selects the winners every spring. This year, there were a total of 544 submissions, and the winning ideas were chosen based on a set of five criteria: creativity, originality, feasibility, scope, and language.
Marc Pandi, project manager of Administrative Service and head of the Good Ideas contest, said that this year the process of selecting a winner started earlier than usual in order to allow each student time to flush out their ideas.
“If we are able to start early in our promotions, the students would have enough time to prepare for their ideas and write them properly in order to submit them,” Pandi said.
The winning ideas were selected by ten jury members, who were each required to be bilingual and have extensive knowledge of campus and student life.
Chloé Drouin, a third-year communication student and jury member for the contest, explained that the jury was given a book of the submitted ideas, all of which were reviewed by each member of the jury individually. Each member then spoke about their five favourite submissions before they jointly decided the overall winners.
“Being on the jury was a great experience, seeing how much students do care about the university, and seeing what kind of ideas run through their heads,” Drouin said. “One thing we [saw was] that many of us noticed these things, but never thought of mentioning [them]. It’s a great thing to see students step up to the plate and [bring up these issues].”
Raechel Allen, a fourth-year commerce student and one of this year’s winners, earned her prize with an idea called “amping up,” which aims to add more electrical outlets in classrooms.
“I actually thought of that idea last year when I had a class—I think it was in the Vanier building where I had friends texting me saying, ‘Can you save me a plug? I am going to be there in ten minutes,’” Allen said. “I thought it was a little ridiculous that we had to come to a class 20 minutes prior to share a plug.”
Allen, along with fellow winners Sébastien Cusson, Leona Yiu, Malaika Miles-Rossouw, and Natalie Bisson, will start working alongside the university in order to implement their winning ideas.
Previous Good Ideas winners include Sara Potvin, who came up with the idea for a campus cheat sheet—essentially an index of all U of O buildings that informed students about what within each building would be useful to them during their time on campus. Her idea has been partially implemented along with many others, such as a student-to-student mentorship program, the Swap Store, and a mature-student support network.
Winners of the Good Ideas contest receive a $1,000 credit toward their tuition or a cheque if they are in their final year of study.