Eastern Michigan University, along with fellow Washtenaw County schools teamed up to host the fifth annual “Bright Futures” event on August 20. The event was held at Washtenaw Community College in the liberal arts building.
The free event was open to high school students ages 14 to 18. It allowed participants to work with other students, local business owners, and facilitators from EMU, U-M, and WCC to identify community problems, develop potential solutions, and to pitch ideas to business owners and non-profit leaders.
Mark Morgan, EMU media specialist said the goal of the event is to have a student-led organization that offer workshops, mentorship and funding for students to create self-directed projects that make a positive impact. The WCC Entrepreneurship Center is a resource hub that supports individuals in developing their entrepreneurial capacity
“It is a day where students focus on real-world obstacles and strive to find solutions to them through visioning and idea validation, providing high school students with an understanding of the entrepreneurial mindset and how to apply it in the future to help address the issues in their communities,“ said Mohamed Said, a student at EMU and president of Optimize Eastern. "We look forward to welcoming the 2019 Bold Futures class and helping them to solve real-world problems ... Bold Futures helped me see problems as not just problems, but as an opportunity to find possible solutions.”
The Echo visited the event and talked to many of the facilitators. The students were just finishing a provided lunch and then sectioned off into groups where community problems were being discussed.
“We like to do activities that are based on problem solving,“ said Kristen Klochko, communications and operations coordinator with Engage at EMU. "We spread out into groups with the students being with a facilitator. Each group is given a specific problem, which could be from trash in the sea, school shootings, or etc. We then brainstorm ideas to help solve the problem. Critical thinking is a big theme of this event. We try to promote making a change in your community and think of ways everyone can help out which is great."
To learn more about Optimize Eastern, visit https://www.emich.edu/engage/communitylink/optimize-eastern.php.