Red Paperclip Challenge: Sparking Entrepreneurial Interest

A collaboration of student groups, led by Spark Entrepreneurs, hopes to inspire a spirit of creativity and ingenuity on the River Campus with an upcoming competition.  The Red Paperclip Challenge, also supported by Susan B. Anthony Hall Council, Alpha Kappa Psi Fraternity, Undergraduate Finance and Economics Council, and WRUR, intends to push students to create innovative outcomes from meager beginnings.

The competition was inspired by Kyle MacDonald, a young man who obtained a two-story farmhouse through a series of fourteen online trades, starting with just one red paperclip.  MacDonald’s entrepreneurial stint evolved into an internet company that promotes business ventures and social adventures with unconventional trajectories.

Spark Entrepreneurs, the hosting group, is a community of students with interests in entrepreneurship and business innovation.  The group provides internal, educational events that helps its members grow and learn as young entrepreneurs. They also schedule social events to network with those who are outside the group. Spark also hosts community events with the goal of improving the skills of existing entrepreneurs and exposing the campus community to the culture of startups.

The Red Paperclip Challenge aims to spark innovation and creative problem solving on campus.  It hopes to promote a new understanding of entrepreneurship, assuring that students of all majors, interests, and backgrounds are welcome to participate.

The event is set to begin at 6:00 pm on Friday, March 20 in the first floor atrium of Rettner Hall.

Students can enter as individuals or as a group, with a maximum of four people per team. The challenge is to start with a single red paperclip and explore its entrepreneurial possibilites for 24 hours. Participants will document their trades on Twitter and then present them to a panel of judges on Saturday night.

Dean of Students Matthew Burns, Director of Rettner Hall George Ferguson, Susanna Virgilio from the Center for Entrepreneurship, and Bob Tobin from Simon Business School will serve as mentors and judges for the competition.The winning three teams will take home a $300 cash prize, and all participants will celebrate with free food and a live WRUR DJ.

For more information, visit the Spark Entrepreneurs website.  For pre-registration, visit the event page available on facebook.

Nate Mulberg: Focused on Sports Broadcasting

Gwen M. Greene Career and Internship Center – English major Nate Mulberg ’14 is building a résumé focused on sports broadcasting experience he hopes will eventually lead to a position as the host of his own sports radio talk show.

Mulberg is the sports director and a talk show host for WRUR, and a sportswriter for the Campus Times. This fall he interned for a local sports radio show, and he has secured another related internship for this summer.

“Doing an internship gives you a taste of whether this is really something you want to do,” he says.

Working with Rochester radio host John DiTullio on 1280 WHTK this fall, Mulberg arranged weekly guests and managed the Twitter page during the show.

“I’d interact with fans,” he said. Mulberg would get the opportunity for on-air experience when DiTullio would turn to him and ask “What’s going on on Twitter, Nate?’”

He gained less tangible work experience when the station experienced a round of layoffs. Seeing first- hand the effect on the work environment and on his coworkers “was a valuable lesson,” he said.

Mulberg advises his peers to start looking for internships early, “There are so many opportunities, you just have to put in the work to find them.”

He says he used a network of professors and coaches including English Professor Curt Smith, Head Baseball Coach Joe Reina, and Head Golf Coach Dan Wesley to connect with DiTullio.

Once he’d made contact, he sent a résumé and then shadowed DiTullio for a day before being offered the internship.

Mulberg credits his Gwen M. Greene Career and Internship Center Counselor Dale Leyburn with helping him focus his goals and write his résumé.

Mulberg says he is looking forward to interning at Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia this summer, where he will interview professional players in the area and write articles for the website.

“It’s fun,” he says of the field. “It might not be the most lucrative, but you can make a living doing what you love.”

Article courtesy of the Gwen M. Greene Career and Internship Center and was originally published in the Career & Internship Digest.