Honors College launches involvement in 2017 Hult Prize competition

By Ben Holda, blj115@zips.uakron.edu

The University of Akron prepares to send its second team to the International Hult Prize competition.

This marks the second year in which UA has sent a team to the worldwide contest. The competition features small teams from around the world that try to create a solution to a problem facing the global community. The problem is chosen by the Hult Prize organization, and differs every year.

In 2017, the problem centers around refugees. The contestants must “focus on restoring the rights and dignity of people and societies who may be, or are forced into motion due to social injustices, politics, economic pressures, climate change and war.”

Once a winning team is chosen, it will receive $1,000,000 to refine and implement its idea.

The University of Akron’s involvement in the competition is conducted through the Williams Honors College.

Last year, contestants had to find a way to alleviate poverty in crowded urban spaces.

UA sent a team composed of Peyton Zachrich, Kelsey Jones, Vishal Chaurasia, and Amanda Pinheiro. This was the first time a team from The University of Akron entered an idea. The Akron team devised a nutrient-loaded foam brick, which grew edible plants in a manner that was not only more efficient and compact than conventional means, but also used less water. The plants grown in these bricks would then be sold as produce, thus supplementing the income of the desperate urban poor.

This idea made it to second place in the Regional Finals in Dubai, one stop short of the main competition.

The Williams Honors College will be holding an informational meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 5 p.m. for students interesting in participating.