Student Event Combines Innovation, Hurricane Relief

An event geared toward students aims to bring innovative ideas to disaster relief efforts as eastern North Carolina continues to recover from the effects of Hurricane Florence.

On Thursday, Oct. 4, East Carolina University will host BrainSTORM, a “make-a-thon” exhibition that brings student teams together for a seven-hour period to create products to help communities recover after natural disasters. During the session, students will explore problems encountered by families, businesses and first responders during natural disasters, create ideas to solve those problems and develop prototypes for potential solutions.

Modeled after popular “hack-a-thons,” BrainSTORM will challenge student innovation by providing tools and resources for creative problem solving around specific needs.

The event is hosted by ECU’s Miller School of Entrepreneurship, Innovation Design Lab, and Division of Research, Economic Development and Engagement.

David Mayo, a teaching instructor with the Miller School of Entrepreneurship and leader for BrainSTORM, said the event offers a unique opportunity for students to positively impact distressed regions in eastern North Carolina.

“This event is important because it allows students to create scalable solutions that can impact many lives,” Mayo said. “When we think of disaster recovery, many times we think about cutting tree limbs or handing out water bottles. However, if we can come up with creative solutions to help with disaster prevention, make logistics more efficient in flooded areas, or create early warning systems, we can improve outcomes for many instead of a few.”

Faculty members will be on hand to guide students through the creation process and provide technical development expertise, if needed.

BrainSTORM will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at ECU’s Innovation Design Lab at Suite 100, 211 S. Jarvis St.

Students can register online; however registration is not required to participate.