Dylan Benac, junior political science major from Beorne, was announced as the winner of the first annual Greatest Idea Challenge in Chapel Friday.
The final five ideas were presented the senior leadership team April 9. JP Festa and Cole Brenthem suggested creating a food delivery service from the Campus Center; Naomi Johnson suggested creating a free bus service for students; Joseph Austin suggested installing water fountains along the Lunsford; Nathan McClain’s idea was to allow the use of Bean Bucks off-campus; and Dylan Benac’s idea was to introduce a mentoring institute between students and faculty and staff.
Festa and Brenthem took third place and $1,000, while McClain took second place and $1,500. Benac’s mentoring program was chosen by ACU President Phil Schubert and the senior leadership team as the greatest idea. Benac received $2,000 for winning. Additionally, as per the rules of the competition, the administration will now move forward with implementing the idea on campus.
Benac, SA vice president and president-elect, said there was a lot of opportunity for students and faculty to interact in non-traditional ways.
“I think you need someone who is an older authority figure, not to tell you what to do, but to encourage you to think differently or to work through your decisions,” Benac said.
Students and faculty and staff members can be voluntarily placed in a pool and paired together based on interests and academia, determined by filling out a form. Benac said he wouldn’t define how individuals’ mentorships needed to look after being paired up.
“I think it’s important not to say, ‘This is what it has to look like,’ because that limits the person that’s being the mentor,” Benac said. “I don’t think this is something we need to put in a box.”
Benac said the idea stemmed from his own personal experience.
“It was really hard for me to find a mentor on the ACU campus,” Benac said. “I also felt that our staff members needed to be more involved with our students.”
Benac will meet with administrators for the next few weeks to work on implementing the mentoring program.
The Greatest Idea Challenge is a competition created by the Students’ Association to allow students to have the opportunity to improve campus. Benac said he intended to continue the Greatest Idea Challenge next semester. TheÂ competitionÂ was the brainchild of Rebecca Dial, senior finance and political science major from Lexington, SC and SA president.
“We really wanted to find a way to better connect students with administrators about their ideas,” Dial said. “SA doesn’t have a monopoly on the good ideas on campus.”
The first round was a video submission. SA received thirteen entries. This was narrowed down to ten ideas, which were workshopped and developed. The semifinalists presented to a three-person panel, which ultimately led to the final five ideas.
“Seeing the progression from when it was just an idea, not thought through, to the full presentations was amazing,” Dial said.
Schubert said in Chapel that while the mentoring program would certainly be implemented, the other two winning ideas were being considered and researched as well. Dial said introducing multiple ideas to the administration was a major purpose of the challenge.
“The fact the administration is looking into all of them is, to me, the best thing about this,” Dial said.
Dial said that while addressing the kinks in the first Greatest Idea Challenge was frustrating, seeing the students’ ideas was rewarding.
“There kept being things that would come up that I didn’t think of,” she said. “Overall, it was a success.”