Change the World Challenge Begins
Entrepreneur Sean O’Sullivan ’85 has donated $1 million to
create the “Change the World Challenge,” an initiative to
support entrepreneurship education and stimulate ideas to
improve the human condition. The program was officially
launched Sept. 17 with the first round of $1,000 awards
presented to five Rensselaer students.
At the core of the challenge is an “idea competition” to be
held each semester. Students will select a topic from a list of
challenges to use science and/or engineering to improve human
life, and offer a solution to that challenge which is not
currently available and is sustainable long term.
New sound technology for teaching math, emergency housing
solutions, use of bar codes in canes to assist the blind, a
signaling device to improve car safety, and an environmentally
friendly mechanism for recycling old cars were among the
winning ideas from students who participated in the
competition. The winners are: Casey O’Donnell, a doctoral
student in science and technology studies; Joseph Choma, a
second-year student in architecture; Brendan Kavanagh, a senior
in mechanical engineering; Danika Patrick, a senior in
mechanical engineering; and Cheuk Wa Yuen, a graduate student
“I hope this contest will provide both a kick in the pants
and financial and logistical support to students willing to
believe and take action to change the world,” said O’Sullivan.
“I want to awaken students to the knowledge that their talent
can and should be used on large-scale ideas that can improve
the planet. These five winners represent the first batch of
O’Sullivan’s gift is in support of the Institute’s $1
billion Renaissance at Rensselaer: The Campaign for
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
As the campaign continues to build momentum, alumni are
stepping forward with leadership gifts to the endowment that
will make a great impact on teaching, research, and scholarship
at Rensselaer in the years ahead.
For more information on Renaissance at Rensselaer, visit www.rpi.edu/campaign.
Originally published in Rensselaer
Magazine, Fall 2005
Photo by Kris Qua