SSU students win at ‘Show Me the Money’ contest
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A group of four students received $2,500 on Dec. 9 as part of a unique final exam, thanks to Sonoma State University business professor Armand Gilinsky’s “Show Me the Money” competition and the Green Music Center.

Gilinsky was awarded $15,000 earlier this year as a portion of the Green Music Center’s Academic Integration Grants. Marne Olson, vice-chair of the board of advisors for the Green Music Center, said the program’s goal is to foster and showcase academic integration in creative ways.

“These projects encourage both faculty and students to look for novel and creative ways to integrate the arts with other disciplines in the university,” she said. “The ability to ‘think outside the box’ is crucial.”

Gilinsky, who received the grant to create a certificate in Creative Arts and Digital Media Business, created the competition as a pilot for the cross-disciplinary collaboration his certificate would entail. Students of his Small Business and Entrepreneurship course (BUS 451) partnered with students and faculty from outside the business department to create innovative and entrepreneurial business plans.

“College is the time to do something really cool and not be afraid to fail,” said Gilinsky, noting that the projects’ requirement for interdisciplinary collaboration taught students how to foster creativity on the management side, and management expertise on the creative side.

“The idea of having non-business students learn from other students is valuable,” he said. “It’s a great way for business students to prove they’ve learned something; it’s the key to longevity.”

The teams presented their plans to a panel of judges in an Elevator Pitch Competition on Dec. 2 in the Green Music Center. The top five moved on to the final round.

Nicole Griffith, Kyle Mossman, Casey Sullivan and Maurice Mickel placed first with their project “VINdata,” a service for small to mid-sized wineries offering customer tracking and technical support. James Waggoner, Alan Chao and Mike Koricki, who worked on “Cyclingroutes.com,” received second place and $1,500 for their app that would help road cyclists plan their rides. The third place team consisted of Romy Bonifacio, Tina Harris, David Castino and Erin Nelson, winning $1,000 for their plan for a solar panel cleaning company, “Solar Sweepers.”

The faculty advisor for the winning team was Ali Kooshesh of the Computer Science Department.  The other advisors included Emily Acosta Lewis of the Communications Department, Patrick Bailey of the Environmental Studies and Planning Department, Paul Draper of the Theatre Arts Department and Lynne Morrow of the Music Department. The professors split a portion of the grant for their work.

“Holy cow! We did it!” said Griffith after the competition.

“This was the greatest experience in my college career,” said Sullivan.

“Ultimately, I hope this will begin to attract support for creative and performing arts management programs,” said Gilinsky. “It would make us a unique university.”

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