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Wartburg incubator kicks off Wicked Challenge

The Wartburg incubator, a social entrepreneurship program, has kicked off its second annual Wicked Problems Challenge.

Kristin Teig Torres, Wartburg’s director of community engagement, said a wicked problem is one that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory and changing requirements that may be difficult to recognize.

Students are challenged to write a proposal for solving a wicked problem, and selected winners will receive help with incubating and funding to kick-start a project. Last year’s top prize went to Collins Kalyebi, who focused on providing educational materials for students in Uganda.

Madison Bloker, a fourth-year student and one of last year’s participants, said the competition is a great opportunity to pursue passions and make a difference in the lives of others.

“This kind of competition is important for students to take advantage of because it challenges students to look at the problems of the world and see how their passions can bring solutions to those problems,” Bloker said. “The problem I focused on was our busy go-go lifestyles we fall into. I presented a solution with my Bound Blessings [business] that aimed to document people’s stories through writings and videos.”

Bloker said the experience allowed her to connect with others, learn new ways to expand her business and get practice pitching her ideas, and she encourages her peers to participate.

While Wartburg isn’t the only college to have an initiative like this, Teig Torres said as a college that is committed to graduating engaging citizens, Wartburg has an obligation to better the world we live in.

“As part of our mission, Wartburg College is dedicated to teaching students to lead lives of leadership and service,” Teig Torres said. “Tackling Wicked Problems will help serve our world and the diverse social issues we face.”

To enter the competition or learn more, students can attend the How to Write a Proposal Workshop on Oct. 9 at 11:30 a.m. in WBC 217 or go to www.wartburg.edu/incubator.

If students need help with ideas or getting started, the campus has faculty and staff ready and willing to help, and any questions can be directed to Kristin.teigtorres@wartburg.edu.

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