Holding up their certificates of participation are (l-r) Charles Synder, Cody Nelson, Roger Stringer and Alissa Miller. Photo by Haley Stevenson, International Programs
 
 
 
PULLMAN, Wash. – Effective communication is critical in the days, weeks and months after a devastating natural disaster, and someone—or some group—needs to be in charge.
 
The eight teams competing in the 2011 WSU Global Case Competition agreed on those issues, but came up with diverse, innovative and interdisciplinary plans for dealing with the multiple and overlapping challenges presented by a catastrophic natural disaster.
 
 
Winning teams
Held on the WSU Pullman campus, the competition involved both graduate students and undergraduates from all WSU campuses and eight different colleges.
 
The $1,000 first prize went to the C2KMR team, including members
Charles Synder (graduate student, Pullman, College of Liberal Arts),
Alissa Miller (graduate student, Pullman, College of Liberal Arts), Roger Stringer (undergraduate, Tri-Cities, College of Sciences), and Cody Nelson (undergraduate, Pullman, College of Business).
 
The $500 second place prize went to International Visionaries in WSU team, including Jeff Donovan (undergraduate, Pullman, College of Sciences),
Smita Kamath (graduate student, Pullman, College of Engineering and Architecture),
Bikram Adhikari (graduate student, Distance Degree Program, College of Engineering and Architeacture),
Alex Wong (graduate student, Pullman, College of Business), and Erica Beauchamp (undergraduate, Vancouver, College of Liberal Arts).
 
“Our real measure of success would be the presentation of Haitian culture,” said Snyder, during his presentation for C2KMR. Their plan called for a “hub and spoke” process for rebuilding one small community at a time.
 
 
Five-day competition
The five-day competition, beginning March 28, asked students to imagine they had the responsibility to develop an action plan for Haiti in the days, months and years following the devastating earthquake in 2010.
 
On Saturday morning in the Todd Hall auditorium each team had 10 minutes to present their plan and then take five minutes of questions from the judges. Judges at this year’s competition were
Doug Epperson, dean of the WSU College of Liberal Arts; Lisa Cohen, executive director of the Washington Global Health Alliance and Orlin Reinbold, owner of Landmark Native Seed.
 
“It was extraordinarily difficult to make a decision,” Epperson said. “All eight of the team identified the major issues at a meta level.”
 
Interdisciplinary perspective
Cohen, who flew over from Seattle for the competition, said she loved the fact that the teams were interdisciplinary and so combined many perspectives. “We cannot solve these problems through any one discipline,” she said. “We have to have different ideas coming in.”
 
“The number one thing that I liked was that the students participated,” she said. Adding a weeklong competition to already busy course schedules represented a real commitment to being globally engaged and making a difference in the world.
“That’s the best part of all, we’re counting on them,” she said.
 
Alissa Miller, a graduate student in anthropology, was also a member of C2KMR. “I feel that adding that cultural component was huge,” she said. “Working with interdisciplinary groups is a very powerful tool.”
 
By the rules of the competition, each team of four to six members was required to include both undergraduate and graduate students from at least two different WSU locations and representing at least three different colleges.
 
 
Chancellor’s praise
WSU Spokane Chancellor
Brian Pitcher, who presented the awards, told students, “I’m really impressed with the importance of this global case and the seriousness with which you studied the issues.”
 
Haley Stevenson, graduate assistant with International Programs and project leader for the student organizing committee, said she was pleased with the number and diversity of students who participated in this year’s inaugural event. The program was sponsored by International Programs with financial assistance from Kemin Industries.