With another installment of the Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) Challenge comes a new opportunity for students to pursue their passions. According to the ICE Institute, the sponsor of the yearly competition, the ICE Challenge is “an annual requirement for all students entering the Villanova School of Business, College of Engineering and College of Nursing.” 

For this year’s challenge, students were broken up into teams of three to five and asked to brainstorm ideas for a new product or service. Teams then had to create a two minute video pitching their final concepts. After watching these videos, students had the opportunity to vote on what they thought was the best idea in their respective class. 

While the ICE challenge is a requirement, it differs greatly from the typical structured project. With no restrictions beyond feasibility, students practically have complete freedom in brainstorming their product or service. 

Freshman Amanda Beck participated in this year’s ICE Challenge through her Introduction to Professional Nursing course. The flexibility given by the challenge let creativity come first in her team’s creation of a portable box that cleans masks overnight. 

“In nursing, it’s all about anatomy, physiology and clinicals,” Beck said. “But with the ICE Challenge, we had the opportunity to show how there’s also a possibility for innovation.  There is a broader scope just beyond bedside nursing, and I think the challenge did a great job at taking us beyond the structure of the curriculum.”

In addition to free expression, students’ passions are another key component to the competition. The ICE Institute challenges students to think of an issue they are passionate about and how this issue can be solved when first brainstorming ideas. 

First year student Mary Dam took part in the ICE Challenge this year through her Engineering Interdisciplinary Project class. Although her teammates ultimately decided on pitching a CO2 detector that helps replenish the air, they first considered everyone’s interests like the institute suggested.

“In our group, we had everyone come up with their own ideas first based on their own problems,” Dam said. “We thought, maybe we could come up with something for glasses. Maybe we could come up with something for tea or coffee. It all varied depending on the problem. Then we gathered all of our ideas and picked the ones we like best, so we all got to pursue what we wanted.”

Regardless of what ideas everyone comes up with, the ICE Challenge gives students the opportunity to explore their passions and think more creatively than ever before.