Fostering Student Innovation

August 05, 2021
by Jere W. Morehead, President

As part of our land-grant mission to promote prosperity in Georgia and beyond, UGA fosters innovation and entrepreneurship among students from their first semester on campus—and even before. This summer, the University hosted two programs to help students learn the skills they need to turn their bright ideas into solutions, products, and technologies that can make our world a better place.

Dawg Camp Innovate, now in its third year, is a weeklong immersion program that enables incoming first-year students to participate in projects alongside Athens nonprofits; build relationships with local entrepreneurial leaders; and explore topics such as experiential learning, campus involvement, and design thinking. I had the pleasure of meeting with these students and was impressed by their creativity and drive. Part of UGA’s nationally renowned Dawg Camp extended orientation program, Dawg Camp Innovate culminated with a Shark Tank-style event in Studio 225.

InnovateU, another program related to innovation, debuted this summer. In partnership with the Clarke County School District, InnovateU brought high school students together with UGA students; faculty from the UGA Entrepreneurship Program and the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development; and local industry mentors from Georgia Power, food and beverage organizations, and nonprofits. Students learned teamwork skills as well as design thinking and problem-solving to help prepare them for success as community leaders and entrepreneurs.

The University of Georgia is proud of what these high school and incoming first-year students have already accomplished, and we look forward to all they will achieve in the future. As UGA’s Innovation District continues to grow, so will the opportunities to connect with students of all ages to help them make a positive impact on our state, nation, and world.