What is the one thing, as a student on campus, that really frustrates you? Maybe you wish that there was a solution for the horrendous parking, some way to satisfy your desire to be environmentally friendly without risking coffee leaking out of your reusable cup and making its way through your bag, an easier way to buy second-hand textbooks (with the assurance that it’s the latest edition) or a faster way to see which cafes have specials...These are issues that students are tackling at the Red Bull Basement University program. Because let’s be real, life on campus is far from perfect and UOW is eager to actively address these problems.
Red Bull Basement University is an initiative which encourages students to work together to create a DIY-based technological solution. It was established in 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil with the intention, “To solve social and environmental problems in their city”. Since then, the event has run at over 300 universities globally, with one goal in mind; to use technological innovation to “Better [the] world, one campus at a time”. The Red Bull Basement University facilitates this program with, “An integrated network of development, workshops, mentorship and funding," to support hackers and makers through the combination of, “Creativity, community and innovation”.
Devika At UOW Red Bull Basement University
At the UOW Red Bull Basement launch, Ken kicked off the event, detailing his journey with emerging technology and why he pursued it. We can take you on part of this journey right now…
Imagine that you are working in your family’s automotive business. You have been there for years, have established great connections with your customers and along with the business, you have begun to see the rewards of your hard work. You’re comfortable in your position, love what you do, understand your role inside-out and work within a team that deeply respects you. You might say that you are at the pinnacle of your career. Now, imagine giving that all away to start up your own company and specialize in emerging technology…
You launch your new business, naming it Devika and begin work from your home office where you spend most days planning, organizing and in meetings to help this business get off the ground...You’ve said goodbye to your weekends because you’re determined to beat the odds (some statistics suggesting that there’s a 90% failure rate) and launch a successful start-up. Through this hard work, you’re able to expand your business to a studio in Wollongong and shortly after, join the SMART Facility at the University of Wollongong.
Your Imagination, Ken's Reality
While I’ve asked you to use your imagination, this is a reality for Ken, who throughout these two years, has had the pleasure of working with many meaningful organizations and people who are passionate about bettering the world through emerging technology. Whether it be virtual reality, augmented reality, app development, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence or web development, Ken recognized its ability to support research, mindfulness, education, environmental sustainability and mental health initiatives and acknowledges that it’s only been through the generous knowledge sharing of others, that he’s come this far. Ken is excited to share his knowledge with students, just as other's did for him.
Students Better Campus Through Red Bull Basement University
Ken used this story to inspire the participating students at Red Bull Basement University, help them understand the potential of emerging technology and acknowledge the simultaneous excitement and apprehension which arises when you’re venturing into the unknown. Ken has enjoyed being part of this event, remembering the similar struggles he faced as a UOW student himself. He has been encouraged by the attending students involvement and willingness to better UOW campus with their DIY-projects. It's also been inspiring to see UOW embrace this initiative and become actively involved to better the campus for students.
With the next few weeks of workshops and mentoring commencing, we're excited to see which direction students take. We’re eager to see how the combination of tech and problem identification will be tackled...We’re definitely wondering how the terror of parking will be solved!
What have been the largest struggles on life on campus and could emerging tech help tackle your problem?