Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience

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It’s safe to say most people in our world today want to build a smarter planet. Senior citizens, parents, young professionals – we all want to live in a sustainable, intelligent world that not only makes our lives easier, less stressful and healthier, but also keeps our environment and infrastructure that way for generations to come. To do so, we need innovation, and we need to look for it in every place creativity exists.

So why don’t we often look more towards students? Universities are known for their research, and as being hot beds of development and studies. Students are not only immersed in these innovation-driven environments, but are in communities which are constantly collaborating in discussion and critical thought. It’s time we tap into our students to gain a fresh perspective, and help us shape ideas to progress our infrastructure, our cities, and our technologies.

Students for a Smarter Planet hopes to do this. As an IBM-led, non profit organization, we are a coalition of university students from around the globe. By collaborating with other student groups, professionals and policy makers, our hope is to drive conversations about how, as undergraduate, graduate and PhD students, we can work with the tech industry to develop and implement actionable, world-changing ideas.

On Thursday, September 5th, we’ll be gathering in downtown New York City to bring these thoughts to a head. University students of all years and disciplines – from environmental engineering to public health to computer science – will meet at SoHo’s SOBs to form ideas of how to change the planet in a cultural, creative setting. We’ll be focusing on how each of us can apply our specific skills, whether it’s coding high performance software,  developing more efficient water networks or planning urban communities with analytics in mind, to tackle – piece by piece – the formidable task of building a smarter world.

Events such as this are also critical to learning the depth and breadth of the skills we need to make our ideas happen. By working with schools, universities and companies such as IBM, we can collaborate with the private sector to help gain the knowledge we’ll need when we graduate to develop and scale our innovations.

Leaning on businesses to develop these solutions is a good place start, but it’s not the only answer. Incubating student ideas offers an entirely new perspective, and we want to scale them globally. Our ideas will be captured on video via Instagram (follow @studentsforasmarterplanet), and the best ones will have the chance to be funded by IBM to become a reality.

All layers of society must be involved to make this vision happen, including our students. We’re thrilled at the possibilities which will come out of this meet up, and can’t wait to see which ones will be put into action to reshape our planet.

If you are a university student, join IBM, ilovefreeconcerts and Students for a Smarter Planet on Thursday, September 5th at SOBs in NYC at 10 p.m. to collaborate your innovative ideas with other students, talk to IBMers who are putting their skills to work to build IBM’s Smarter Planet vision, and watch some of the most best musical and performance artists in the city. Can’t make it? Follow #IBMNightOut as well as @studentsforasmarterplanet on Instagram to watch the ideas percolate.

Guest blogger:  Taylor Vogt


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