Dear UConn Students,

The UConn Wellness Coalition, in partnership with Student Health and Wellness (SHaW) and OPIM Innovate, are excited to host UConn’s third annual Innovate Wellness Challenge. Over the past three years, the Wellness Coalition has brought together students, staff, and faculty from across campus to work towards one vision: UConn as a thriving, connected campus community that supports the full potential of every student.

This year, undergraduate student teams will address loneliness and the need for connection. These topics have always been priority topics amongst college students and college administrators, and have only been amplified by recent events (the pandemic, recent events exemplifying racial injustice, etc.).

Through this challenge, you will use the Design Thinking Process, build your skills and resumé, work with students, staff, and faculty, and have the chance to implement your solutions.  The winning team will receive $1,500 in scholarships along with a chance to secure funding to pilot your idea!  We value student voices and are looking for creative solutions that allow and encourage students to share their ideas for empowering students to reach their full potential both in and outside of the classroom.

We are excited to have you take on the challenge and look forward to hearing all of your ideas.


Suzanne Onorato, Ph.D. 
Executive Director of Student Health and Wellness

Karen McComb, M.S.
Director of Health Promotion & Community Impact

Jonathan Moore, MBA   
Academic Director of Management Information Systems

Colleen Atkinson, MPH
Health Educator

Challenge Timeline

Registration: 2/1 – 2/12

Students have to form teams of 3:

  • Students can register individually and work with us to form a team


  • Students can register with team members


Team Confirmation: 2/17

  • Time: By 11:59 PM
  • Description: Each team will be emailed by an Innovate intern asking for all three team members to confirm their team. Each member must reply all to the email saying "I confirm." by 11:59 PM on 2/17.

Kick-Off Event: 2/19

  • Location: WebEx
  • Time: 5:30 - 6:00 PM
  • Description: The Challenge Kick-Off Event has 4 components:
    1. Overview of the Challenge and expectations
      • Challenge Guide
    2. Design Thinking Workshop
    3. Q & A
    4. Case is handed out!

Poster Presentations: 3/8 – 3/10

  • Location: WebEx
  • Time: TBD
  • Description: There will be two pieces to the poster presentation
    • Teams will create a poster using a template provided. These posters will be displayed on the Innovate Wellness Challenge website. UConn students, staff, and faculty will have the opportunity to provide feedback to the ideas on the website. They will also be able to vote for their top 3 teams. This will account for 1/3 of the team's overall score for the poster presentation
    • Each team will also present a 5-minute pitch of their idea to a panel of student judges. This will account for 2/3 of a team’s overall score for the poster presentation.

Semi-Final Presentations: 3/22 – 3/24

  • Location: WebEx
  • Time: TBD
  • Description: The top 15 teams will select which idea from poster presentations they want to focus on and then work with staff and faculty to create a prototype. The prototype will be presented at Semi-Final Presentations.

Final Presentations: 4/5 – 4/7

  • Location: WebEx
  • Time: TBD
  • Description: The top five teams will take their prototype and work with staff and faculty to create a plan for testing their prototype. Depending on feasibility and quality of idea the top team or more than one team may have the opportunity to work with staff to implement their idea. Winning teams will be announced Friday (4/9).
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Virtual Info Session

Design Thinking Process

Design Thinking is a human-centered approach to solving challenges. One of the most common methodologies to design thinking is the 5 phase model. Empathize. Define. Ideate. Prototype. Test. This model will be used to facilitate idea development throughout the Innovate Wellness Challenge. More information to come at the Challenge Kick-Off.