Innovation Competition (2017)

Innovation Competition Information and Guidelines

This year’s “Innovation Competition” revolves around the question of how best to integrate outsiders into our communities. Cornell students, working alone or in groups, are invited to submit proposals for creative and effective ways in which Cornell students, out local communities, and/or our local/regional/national political systems can effect positive change for the integration of outsiders in our society. Proposals are due Wednesday, November 15th, at noon via email to Professor Carrington ( Three winners will be announced at the Film Festival that evening (7:00 pm, Zamora’s) and will each receive a $100 Amazon gift card. See for details, a submission guide, and FAQs.

Specific Guidelines:

  • Submissions should provide a compelling, creative response to the question, “How can we better integrate outsiders, newcomers, immigrants, and refugees into our campus, local communities, and nations?” Or, put differently, “How can our local/regional/national political systems effect positive change for immigrants?”
  • Be specific, but don’t be afraid to think big. Be realistic, but don’t feel constrained by the (unfortunate) realities of tight budgets (indeed, fundraising might be a part of your proposal).
  • Submissions will be judged based on their creativity, feasibility, and probable effectiveness.
  • Submissions are due at noon on Wednesday, November 15th, via email to Prof. Dr. Tyler Carrington (
  • Submissions should be typed (Word and Google Docs are fine) but may also include images, diagrams, etc., where appropriate.


What are the prizes?
There will be 3 $100 Amazon gift cards awarded.

What about cash prizes?
This is actually better than cash (and no, Jeff Bazos did not pay for that last sentence [though he is welcome to…]). Last year’s competition featured cash prizes, but these awards were simply applied to the winning students’ student accounts bills. So with these gift cards you can buy whatever you like.

What are the judges looking for?
A winning proposal will think outside the box. It will demonstrate clear potential for effecting real change. It will operate somewhere between the obvious and the obviously-impossible. It will show that its author has familiarized him/herself with the specifics of whatever community/context the proposal addresses. It will be specific but not lose sight of the larger mission. It will be tailored to the people group and location under concern.

Can I focus on migration/immigration/refugees on an international level? On a local level? On a campus level?
Yes. Whether you choose to focus on Cedar Rapids, Cornell College, Iowa, Arizona, the United States, the United Nations, the EU, Germany, the UK, etc. etc. etc….all are acceptable and welcome focal points for your submissions. The point is that you choose a focus and address it specifically.

Is my focus too narrow? Too broad?
Probably not, but you can check your proposal one way or the other by referring back to the two guiding questions of the competition and ensuring that you have answered both with specificity and broad vision. Many students will err on the side of too much broad vision, not enough gritty details. But a compelling submission will not lose the grand vision for the tiny details.

Can I run an idea by someone before submitting it?
Sure. Send Prof. Carrington an email and pitch your idea.

Can we work in groups?
Of course. You’d have to decide how you want to split the prize money, but you are absolutely welcome to work in pairs, trios, or more.

Do we have to be present to win?
Better not risk it. Come to the film festival!

Further questions? Contact Professor Dr. Tyler Carrington,

For more information on this week of programming, see also