Better Competition

The tl;dr

Who: Any Missouri S&T undergraduate student will be allowed to form a team for the event.

What: Better the Missouri S&T campus by enhancing any part of campus life.

When: The competition is currently scheduled to begin in September 2015 and end in April 2016.

Why: The goal of this event is to allow students to make the changes they would like to see on campus while contending for prizes; using, developing, and displaying their practical abilities; and forming lasting personal and professional connections.  Instead of applying a specific solution to a particular problem i.e. the classroom, this competition will push students to innovate in whatever means they possess as well as to cultivate knowledge about new skills.

How: The first question which comes to the mind when learning about an organization is where do I get started. In the case of The Better Campus Competition, you will want to assemble a team of people whose skills will help you discover the best solution possible to your proposed problem.   This will require at least a 4 man team, that can expand to 7 as the competition moves forward to meet the team’s needs.Your team leader must  submit your team’s idea and team structure to our better webpage by the appropriate date.

The Competition

Students are always the first to see potential improvements to campus life. In that spirit, IT RSS is hosting The Better Campus Competition  for you, the student, to leave your mark on the Missouri S&T campus while showcasing and developing skills crucial to a successful future. The competition will be held during the Fall 2015 - Spring 2016 school year, hosted by IT Research Support Services, in which teams of students work on a project based off their own ideas to improve any aspect of the S&T campus. Any kind of method can be utilized in the competition: from a mechanical build, to a digital hardware solution, a software program, or even something unexpected  that suits the team's skills and the issue. We expect this contest to benefit the student participants as well as the University and various prizes will be available to reward the winners.

When proposing an idea it is expected that you will know what the problem is, why the problem needs to be solved, and have a general idea of how to solve it (though not a final idea necessarily). Only the team leader needs to make a submission for a team. Individuals also need to make a submission if they wish to be entered into the pool of potential participants.

The Rules

  • There will be a maximum of ten teams

  • This competition is for undergraduate Missouri S&T students only. Each participant may only be a member of 1 team.

  • If the number of teams applying exceeds ten, IT RSS will determine which ten teams will advance to the next phase based off the teams’ submissions. The members of those teams who do not advance will be allowed to join other teams as member space permits.

  • Teams must have 4-7 members. As an individual, you can still join the competition and be selected for a team or even lead your own team. Additionally, the team leader may add more members to your team (up to 7 members total) even after the initial submission period.

  • Each team will be sponsored $1000 in order to construct a prototype of their design, and a list of expenses will be required in order to ensure that the budget is not supplemented. All procurement of materials will go through IT RSS.

  • The budget could potentially increase as the competition develops. Excess funds from teams who dropped out of the competition or did not meet the milestones as described in the deadline schedule,  will be evenly distributed amongst the active teams.

  • A timeline of the competition is as follows:

    • October 1 - Deadline for submitting a proposal at our better webpage

    • October 7 - Team structure must be submitted for review and approval by this date

    • October 26 through 28 - Pre Design Review

    • November 11 through 13 - Initial design presentation deadline (judges offer feedback) and Initial parts request for prototype deadline

    • December 15 - Project Progress report
    • January 29 - Project Progress Report

    • February 29 - Whole system prototype (judges offer feedback)

    • April 18 - Whole system prototype review for final competition

    • April 18 - Final parts audit deadline (teams will not be allowed to participate in final judging if they do not audit their final parts with IT RSS by this date)

    • April 18 - Final product judging

  • Judges will be a mix of students, faculty, and corporate sponsors of the event.

  • The criterion for the project include: usefulness, effectiveness, ability to scale, innovative qualities, and design elegance.

  • Each team member is expected to contribute to the project, teams will be allowed to internally agree upon the removal of a member and then notify IT RSS for approval.

  • Teams failing to meet the milestones as described in the timeline, will forfeit the competition.

  • Any unethical behavior will be reported to the students’ faculty advisors.


Q1: What are some example problems which one could solve?

A1: Like all things, the Missouri S&T campus is not perfect. There is always room for improvement. As such, there are a variety of possible areas of improvement such as:

  • an application which tracks the expected wait time at the various food vendors on campus

  • an application for the Residential Halls to organize times for students to do laundry

  • an application featuring an meaningful, interactive way of tracking degree progress

  • use of a microcontroller to automate watering of on campus flowers/plants/shrubs as needed

  • develop a hardware solution for monitoring the state of the laundromat machines

  • create a method for students to easily monitor availability of individual CLC machines

  • an automated delivery system that can transport heavy packages between departments

  • an automated bike loan system that balances out bike deficits and works with the ID system

  • an application for people to use for grocery/leftover sharing

  • a maneuverable, aesthetically appealing, easily transportable display stand

That is just the tip of the iceberg, however, as you can submit any idea to solve any problem which you've noticed on campus!

Q2: Where can we build our projects?

A2: Students may use any of the on campus facilities to which they have access (be it  soldering in the Electrical Engineering building, using the Student Machine shop in Toomey, 3d printing in the Library, or any other means a student may have). If you have questions about using a particular machine then you can contact IT RSS.

Q3: What kind of useful skills can be gained from participating in this event?

A3: We expect variety of resources will be utilized in this competition such as, but undoubtedly not limited to:

  • SolidWorks (3D Modeling)

  • Raspberry Pis

  • Arduinos

  • Sensors

  • CNC Machining

  • Design for Manufacturing

  • Circuit Design and PCB layouts

  • 3D Printing

  • Software Design

  • Experience with a variety of programming languages

  • Soldering

And IT RSS plans on hosting several informational meetings about the above tools.

Q4: What if two teams submit the same idea?

A4: If two teams submit the same idea, they will both be allowed to implement their own unique solutions to the problem. Two teams working to solve the same issue is allowable, but if the solutions are identical then whoever submitted the idea first will be the team allowed to use the solution.

Q5: What if the judges are biased toward one of the teams?

A5: Judges can have no familial relationship or administrative authority over the competitors to ensure a level playing field for all teams.

Q6: How do I select whose team I would like to be on/which members will be on my team?

A6: After the proposal deadline, team leaders will be allowed to offer positions on their team to the individual applicants. It is then up to the individual applicant to determine which team they would like to join.

Q7. Who owns the intellectual property rights to the ideas submitted and prototyped in the Better Campus Competition?

A7. Missouri S&T owns the intellectual property rights to the ideas submitted and prototyped in the Better Campus Competition.

If you have a question not answered in the rule set or the FAQ, please contact IT RSS.

Please see our better webpage as well!

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