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Armen Awards to solve GRCC parking woes?


By Abigail Schantz
Collegiate Staff Writer

It’s 9:10 a.m. and your first class starts at 9:30a.m. Your professor finds it unacceptable for students to be late for class. You pull up to park in one of GRCC’s parking ramps and find a long line of waiting cars because the lot is “full” and suddenly realize that you are not going to make it to class on time.
This year the Armen Award Innovation Competition is looking for answers from students, staff members, and faculty members. The prompt is “How might GRCC reduce the need for and use of on-campus parking by 50 percent by 2015?” This year’s Armen Award competitors need to find a creative and probable solution to win the grand prize of $3,000.
Armen Oumedian is the founder of the Armen Award Innovation Competition and has a love for innovation.  Oumedian served as the vice president of Rapistan for 32 years before he retired.  Oumedian also graduated from Grand Rapids Community College and Kettering University.  “Oumedian believes that students and staff are able to solve any problems that arise with creative minds, and he is willing to put his money behind it,” said Liz McCormick, the director for innovation projects at GRCC. “I would only support this competition if there was a three year contract so we could learn and improve together,” Oumedian said.
To be eligible to compete, a team must have a group of three to six people with at least one GRCC student, one GRCC faculty member, and one GRCC staff member. The team can also include an alumni or retiree. This is the first competition that is made up of a group of people, as most competitions here at GRCC are single. “By introducing students to ways to improve by collaborating with the school in a team effort that problems can and will be fixed,” Oumedian said.
After a team has been arranged they have to come up with an idea to go online and fill out a form to submit their idea by October 15. The team’s ideas are scored on the uniquess of the idea, how it will impact GRCC parking effectively, and the likelihood of making the idea possible. Upon submission, the team must research and build a case around the purpose and effectiveness of the idea.
Teams that place in the top ten will receive $100 and will be announced on October 21. Then the team has to make a decision if they want to continue and if so they have to make a video submission on December 5 of their idea on how and why their idea is the most creative and can be put to use.  Lastly on December 8, 2011 the teams will appear before a group of judges to prove their idea is the best and show how they came up with the results and explanations as a team. After the presentation the team has five minutes of questions and answers from the judges and then after deliberation the judges. After deliberation, the judges will announce the winners and the prize money will be handed out.
The prize money is all by Armen Oumedian and is cash.  The prize is not a scholarship and does not have to be used for school purposes. First place receives $3000.00, second place prize receives $150.00, and third place receives the prize of $750.00.
For more information or to register, go to www.grcc.edu/challenge.


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