Knight Challenge update

The Knight Cities Challenge is coming down to the wire.

The Knight Cities Challenge is coming down to the wire.

By Spencer Skolnick, Writer

A team of students and faculty from UA and Kent State University are finalists for the Knights Cities Challenge.

The Knight Cities Challenge grants a team with an innovative idea funds to pursue their creative projects. The program provides capital participants with ideas to improve the future of their cities.

UA teamed up with Kent State for the challenge. The team’s collaborated idea to bring  the community together through art, live music, and weekend events in the city is now a finalist in the challenge.

Three ideas created by the team, with particular leadership and dedication from Darnell Davis, Kevin Karas, and David Swirsky, were accepted as finalists.

The general concepts entered in the challenge propose that on weekends, the team would have temporary art gallery and boutiques set up, all featuring student work. Along with live music in downtown Akron to appeal to the public, they would showcase art, food and products that student designers and entrepreneurs have created to sell. The team hopes to encourage creativity from students with special talents.

“[The products on display range] from anything like a cool art structure to functional things like bike racks or picnic tables,” Swirsky said.

This downtown addition is just one of the three ideas proposed by the Akron team, all of which were accepted as finalists. Swirsky’s other idea would implement a designated space in downtown Akron for members of the community to hold meetings, workshops, events, and programs.

“[This opportunity] encourages the creation of ideas to improve the university and the city of Akron,” says team member and vice president for Student Success, Candace Campbell Jackson.

The other accepted idea in the Knight Challenge was formulated by professor Carolyn Behrman and Bettie Street Block Watch to boost a safer city with less crime. Named “Flashbulb,” the idea would produce a flash mob of people involved in cleaning up the neighborhoods surrounding downtown. Volunteers would turn empty lots into flower beds, joined by live music performances.

Results for winners of the challenge will be announced in March. With hopes of winning the challenge, the team looks forward to a brighter future for the city of Akron.