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ETSU Elevates winners ready to feed the community, build beds and robots

Contributed • Feb 29, 2020 at 1:07 AM

Each of the five teams selected to participate in the ETSU Elevate Pitch Competition came prepared with presentations and supporters last Thursday.

The audience chose three winners, each receiving $5,000 service grants from East Tennessee State University to fund projects aimed at improving the lives of people across the region.

Now it is time for the winning teams from Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Inc., Feeding 5,000 and STREAMWORKS to begin implementing their projects.

First place went to Bunkheads, a team made up of students from Volunteer ETSU and Liv Detwiler from the Department of Literature and Language working alongside the Sullivan County Chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace Inc. The group will hold an “ETSU Build Day” to build and deliver beds equipped with mattresses, sheets, pillows and a blanket to children in need.

Members of Avoca Christian Church and Dr. Amy Greene, associate professor in the Clemmer College, represent the second-place winner – Feeding 5,000 – which will use the grant to expand the existing program that helps students and their families in Sullivan County overcome hunger during the summer months.

Look for third-place winner, STREAMWORKS, to hold a regional competition in May for community-based Marine Advanced Technology Education underwater robotics teams for middle and high schools. ETSU students will work with STREAMWORKS to start these robotics teams.

Each team participating in the competition had seven minutes to present their idea and then answered questions from the audience. At the conclusion of the pitches, each audience member physically present was eligible to vote and determine the three winners.

The five participating teams were drawn from the pool of ETSU Elevates applicants.

The two teams that did not receive service grants, Ralph E. Davis Leadership Scholars Academy (Langston Centre, ETSU’s Clemmer College and Multicultural Center) and Treasure and Tales (United Way Elizabethton/Carter/Johnson Counties and ETSU Department of Media and Communication student Britney Rochette) remain eligible for future competitions, along with previous applicants.

These and any new applications submitted by the next deadline, March 10 at 10 p.m., will be considered for the ETSU Elevates drawing March 24. Three more service grants of $5,000 each will be awarded during the next Pitch Competition on Tuesday, March 31, at 6:30 p.m. in the ETSU Millennium Center ballroom.

The initiative was introduced by ETSU President Brian Noland last fall on the anniversary of the East Tennessee State Normal School dedication, Oct. 10, 1911. So far, nine teams have collectively won $45,000 to elevate their projects and the region.

Teams consisting of at least one member of the ETSU community (faculty, staff, students, organizations, departments, colleges) and surrounding community (individuals, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, schools, civic groups etc.) are eligible to submit applications outlining how they would use service grants to elevate their project and the region.

To learn more about ETSU Elevates, including application information, deadlines and event dates, visit www.etsu.edu/ETSUelevates. For more information, contact [email protected] or 423-439-4317.

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