With over 78% of BU students living on campus and over 450 registered student organizations, BU is teeming with energy and ideas. BU Spark! is an exciting new initiative that will create a supportive community for student-centered entrepreneurship in computing as well as a suite of programs, activities, resources, and networks to help and empower students to pursue next-stage development of their ideas, concepts, and creations for innovative computing and data-driven technology.
BU Spark! is funded by a $1M gift that provides five years of initial support to incubate new ideas and collaborations (both within the university and between BU and a wide range of partners) and ultimately, to empower students. While this generous gift provides the initial momentum and resources to develop BU Spark!, the expectation is that the initiative will develop into an entity deeply embedded in the culture of the institution with a considerably longer lifespan.
The BU Spark! initiative is housed in the Hariri Institute for Computing, and has among its initial goals:
- Creation of a supportive community for student-centered innovation and entrepreneurship that fosters informal, flexible networks and enables student access to a wide range of university-supported and student-led resources on the BU campus and beyond.
- Development of a suite of programs and activities that will serve the needs and interests of the community as they emerge, and that will nurture and raise the visibility of the entrepreneurial student culture at BU.
- Cultivation of connections between student projects produced within the context of academic courses, independent research, and other programs to facilitate next-stage development for student-led concepts.
- Development of mechanisms to engage the BU community in the vetting and assessment of the viability of ideas (and potentially inspiring investment in those ideas).
- Exploration of new and creative mechanisms for generating excitement about student projects and for supporting these projects through the use and possible extension of existing BU crowdfunding platforms and social networks.