The Hult Prize Movement, often dubbed as the Nobel Prize for students, powers the ability of students to generate out-of-the-box ideas in order to solve the given challenge revolving around the SDG’s, a pressing social problem specified at the UN Finals each year.
While in past, the Hult Prize Challenge has nurtured student startups working in sectors like Healthcare, Sanitation, Education, and Refugee Rights, this year’s theme – Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform the Lives of 10 Million People – was a bit more technical and perfect for Engineering/Science students to embark on. They would be able to solve real issues using their technical knowledge while picking up financial and marketing tools along the way.
Jadavpur University E-Cell President, Syed Sohail, took on the task of Campus Director this year. With his previous experience as India’s representative at the World Festival of Youth and Students in Russia, a CGI U participant, a YSE Singapore participant and an attendee at Hult Prize Impact Forum in London he was the clearly the right guy for the post. A lot was expected from this year’s Campus Director and he delivered on all fronts. From organising the OnCampus program in a grand way and a number of information seminars leading up to the big day, to making the Hult Prize event at Jadavpur University one of the best organised events and getting national media to cover the event – Sohail made sure that the event would be an incredible platform for the young social entrepreneurs of Jadavpur University to showcase their ideas. He made sure that even after the event there would be enough mentors and incubation centers to help the top 10 ideas in the university implement and pilot their projects into a reality.
With over 45 teams participating, Campus Director Syed Sohail did an amazing job to help the teams on preparing for the big day. The Campus Director had brought in an amazing panel of judges, included within them Mr. Chandrashekhar Ghosh – the so-called “Muhhammad Yunus” of India- founder of Bandhan Bank of India.
Team Eureka, which came in 2nd, was kind enough to provide insight into their idea: “Our objective is to extract oil from algae and commercialize it for use in different industries such as pharmaceutical, biodiesel, cosmetics etc.”
According to our Director Syed Sohail – “Sometimes, all you need is that inconspicuous fact – in the corner of that thick, dusty book you never bothered to read – to change the world”.
In the end, both the judges and the Campus Director were torn between such fantastic ideas, including that of plastic bricks and portable water filter bottles, but they went for the idea they believed to be the most disruptive and different from others – Team SWAF, led by Soumya Mondal, won the OnCampus competition. They understood that while people know how important it is to save energy, there’s always this lack of incentive that plagues the everyday consumer. Their idea revolved around the gamification of the entire energy saving process. The more you save, the more points you win. With so many publications and so much research going on in Gamified Energy Efficient programs, such breakthrough ideas are perfect for the ardent gamers in today’s society. Gamification turns a real-world activity into a game that motivates and encourages people to save energy, explaining how games motivate players to reduce energy usage and analyzes the characteristics of the most successful gamified solutions. The research was unparalleled. Team SWAF certainly showed that Gamification is one of the best ways to move forward in harnessing the power of energy.