The Live Easy team of student entrepreneurs.
PULLMAN, Wash. – The idea for the fledgling nonprofit, Live Easy, came out of a summer internship experience for Washington State University student Amanda Porter.
A senior in chemical engineering originally from Kennewick, Wash., she was able to secure a terrific summer internship close to home. But her fellow students were not so lucky.
Six out of her seven classmates struggled to find and pay for housing. Their internships didnât necessarily cover their costs, yet provided valuable experience that was important to their career advancement.
One of her friends, in fact, stayed with her family.
As she watched her colleagues deal with the quandary, Porter, who is part of the College of Engineering and Architectureâs Harold Frank Entrepreneurship Institute, came up with the idea for a nonprofit organization that would connect students with Cougar alumni who provide summer housing.
The Harold Frank program supports junior- and senior-level students who are interested in technological entrepreneurship and gives them the tools and experiences to pursue their ideas. It includes a three-week summer program consisting of visits with high-tech startups in the Bay Area and Seattle, a 12-week industry internship and entrepreneur-focused courses.
Porter and fellow students – including Jasmyn Bolar (entrepreneurship), Mackenzie Chapman (entrepreneurship) and Lindsey Nichols (bioengineering) – are pursuing the idea for Live Easy as part of their senior capstone design project.
The students are designing technology and a sustainable business model to connect alumni with available space and students seeking housing, thereby delivering value to both groups. As part of this effort, the students want to connect with the WSU Alumni Association to raise awareness about their efforts. The effort is unique, with only one other college in the U.S. offering such a service.
It is sorely needed, Chapman said. Some students have to take a local internship rather than a more valuable distant one because they canât afford to live elsewhere.
Live Easy would allow alumni to give back to the university in a unique way and help build a stronger alumni community, Porter said. For parents who have sent their own children to college or beyond, the service could provide a fun way to bring some refreshing student life back into their home â especially since itâs just temporary.
The students will enter their idea in the annual WSU Business Plan Competition in April. For more information on Live Easy and to participate in an alumni or student survey, go to https://sites.google.com/site/socialentrepreneurialcougs/home.