Photo by Vasanth Pranavan Selvam (He/him)
“We want an environment of outstanding achievement, of going above and beyond, of pursuing your dreams and passions, of becoming more than just an industry worker…”
Pronouncing these words, the president of a brand-new student organization, Daniel Medina, kicked off the first general body meeting. Definitely sounds like quite a challenging feat for a young man majoring in biomedical engineering from Barranquilla, Colombia.
Talking about a “culture of phenomenal achievement,” he kept presenting his new organization as an entirely new concept seeking to spark a fire in an institution that desperately needs something new, inspiring, and motivating for its students. “After a year of meeting amazing individuals I soon came to realize the great potential this school holds…and that was how Venture was born.”
What makes Venture IIT different from other organizations? What does Venture IIT exactly aim to do for the students of Illinois Institute of Technology? Presenting themselves as a new concept of innovation and initiative, there were definitely many novel ideas presented at the meeting. Their mission clearly states they seek to “empower students to develop their ideas and pursue their passions by providing them with resources, connections, and support,” and to “inspire students to diverge from the common path of simply going to class, getting an "A," and "applying for an entry -evel job.” Now, why does Illinois Tech need an organization like this, and how would this look like in real life?
As the presentation continued, the Vice President of Venture IIT, Katja Berthold, argued that although Illinois Tech has amazing students with great ideas, many lack initiative or motivation to take action. And even when students want to, many feel discouraged due to the lack of resources and connections. Thus, Venture IIT will become the organization that seeks to provide students with the support they need in order to thrive both individually and as a student community.
The Venture IIT executive board is composed of 10 members: the president, vice-president, and eight others that consist of the treasurer, recruitment chair, events chair, media & design chair, networking chair, fundraising chair, and university scouts. Most of these roles fall in common with other student organizations at Illinois Tech. However, positions such at networking chair and university scouts are one of the key components that make Venture IIT such a unique and ambitious club.
The networking chair’s main goal is to connect with big companies and form relationships that could eventually lead to future partnerships and sponsorship opportunities. This position is also responsible for contacting alumni or any third party that may have any affiliation with Illinois Tech. On the peer level, university scouts are in charge of networking amongst students at other universities in the Chicago area, either collaborating with existing organizations with similar goals as Venture IIT, or even finding the right students to start their own Venture. Attacking both the professional and educational groups of people, Venture IIT plans to expand and spread their mission throughout the city, and eventually the country.
The recruitment chair is another somewhat novel concept that Venture IIT is bringing to the table. Being an organization with the main objective of supporting student endeavors, at the end of the day Venture IIT will be what students make of it. For this reason, its leaders want to make sure that there are always students that will be taking advantage of the support the organization may provide. The recruitment chair has the important task of constantly recruiting and keeping an eye out for any students who might show any potential idea, motivation or drive to become high achievers.
Venture IIT is also planning to have roughly five general body meetings next semester, and a “project pitch” event right when the semester begins. For students who already have a clear plan in their head, Venture IIT will be the hub they go to for resources and networking. But for those who may not know where to start, Venture IIT will the place for exploration. “Project pitch” is an event where students will be guided by a mentor as they walk through the stages of brainstorming ideas, forming strategic plans, and learning how to executive in order to achieve their goals. This process is not only encouraging students to take action when an idea sparks, but also expand their creative capacity and think “bigger.”
The executive board has already begun to expand their connections by attending different networking events around Chicago and reaching out to Illinois Tech alumni. Amy Segami, Illinois Tech alumni, and TEDxIIT founder, has already agreed to work with Venture IIT in programming next semester’s TEDxIIT event. The president and vice president of Venture IIT have also set up two meetings with both President Alan Cramb and Provost Peter Kilpatrick to discuss how Venture can become more of an influential organization on campus, embodying the start of a new future here at Illinois Tech.
Photo by Vasanth Pranavan Selvam (He/him)