October 22, 2019 | By Sari Judge | Back to news

Students at WID

The StartUp Learning Community is thrilled to welcome its latest cohort of 64 students to the second floor of Tower A in Sellery Hall. Since its’ founding in 2008, StartUp (formerly the Entrepreneurial Residential Learning Community) residents, a self-selected group of predominantly freshman, have had the opportunity to live and learn together–all excited about exploring the wild and wonderful world of innovation and entrepreneurship.

From late night brainstorming sessions in the community lounge, to enrollment in our StartUp-exclusive seminar, to tours of Madison’s premier e-ship spaces, our students are poised to hit the UW-Madison campus running when it comes to entrepreneurial action. The residents of this year’s Learning Community echo many of the changes at UW-Madison coming from international locals including India, Japan, Brazil and Thailand. We also have domestic students which represent 13 different states. Twelve students are from Wisconsin.

After a jam packed Welcome Week, which included the opportunity to network with members of Business Connect, as well as other Learning Communities on campus, this year’s class has enjoyed the opportunity to represent the floor at the first WARF’s Entrepreneurons event of the year. Professor John Surdyk has already led them through a design thinking exercise intended to get their creative problem-solving skills going. We have already had numerous community-based teams express interest in applying for Dream Big grants that will help them launch ventures right from the 2A floor. Later this month we expect the majority of students on the floor to participate in one of the StartUp’s signature programs—the 100-Hour Challenge. An “entry-level” UW-Madison entrepreneurial contest that is popular with students from all disciplines and backgrounds, the 100-Hour Challenge invites teams of students to use donated materials from campus’ Surplus with a Purpose (SWAP) to come up with a new product prototype in 100 hours or less (essentially over a long weekend). The teams then make a short video or slide deck pitches of their big idea for the chance to win prize money.

StartUp is always looking for ways to connect its current residents with alumni in the entrepreneurship community. If you are interested in becoming more involved, feel free to contact Faculty Director John Surdyk at john.surdyk@wisc.edu or Program Coordinator Sari Judge at sari.judge@housing.wisc.edu.