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Murray State University Student Boaz Burnett Shares Camp2030 Experience

Kentucky Commercialization Ventures (KCV) recently sponsored 3 students from our supported institutions to attend UNITE's Camp2030 through the KCV GOAL Fund. Boaz Burnett, a student from Murray State University, took home second place in the end-of-program competition and talks about his experience below. Learn more about the KCV GOAL Fund here.

Sarah Roberts, UNITE 2030 Camp2030 Program Manager, noted of Kentucky's participation, "Camp 2030 is a place for all game changers, changemakers, and young people ready to make a difference. The students that joined us through KCV from across the State all represented just what it means to be a young person taking action towards a better future. During our time at our 6 day innovation lab in September, we got to see the growth of over 100 young Campers from across the world, who joined hands to create a better future for us and for the planet. Camp 2030 is game-changing for everyone that joins us, and we are so happy that our changemakers from KCV were a part of it."

About Boaz's Camp2030 Experience

This fall I had the opportunity to participate in Camp 2030 as a Kentucky Representative. Truthfully, I didn’t know much about the program and trying to look into it online I really didn’t find much information. All I knew was that I was getting a free trip to New York, but this trip turned out to be so much more than that.

I was late to arrive on the first day of camp, missing the buses that were supposed to take me and the other campers to Camp Echo Lake. However, after braving New York traffic and having my first experience with Amtrak, I was on my way. I was met at the Amtrak station by a camp employee and was introduced to some fellow campers who had also missed the bus. That van ride to camp was the first time I had really talked to the other campers, and everyone was incredibly friendly. This applied to everyone during that week, and it was probably the best part of the experience for me. Going into high school and college my experience is that a lot of people just want to stick to their established groups. But at camp, a place advertised for making connections, everyone was willing to talk. I honestly feel like I could have been friends with any one of the people I talked to during that week. Everyone was passionate about making a change, it truly felt like these would be the people who would change the world and I believe that some of us will.

During the introductory speech it was said that any one of the rooms you will be in this week will probably be the most diverse you will ever be. Growing up in Murray, Kentucky I can say that that was resoundingly true. As I have started university, I have been in more diverse environments than in high school but looking at my life as a whole and the job field associated with my major it is overwhelmingly lacking diversity. This lack of diversity can often equate to a lack of new ideas and differing ways of doing things.

It could be argued that the point of the camp was to make connections above anything else, but there were stated goals. Before camp we were all asked to choose which Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) we were most passionate about. For those who don’t know, the SDGs are basically a bunch of targets that the United Nations would like to hit by 2030. They include things such as Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, and the one I picked: Zero Hunger. Once we had all selected what goals we wanted to pursue we were split up into tracks and then further divided into teams of three to five designed to be as diverse as possible. My team included Shaan from Switzerland, Anagha from India, Basil from Saudi, and Josh also from the United States.

We were tasked with creating a startup plan which would use the principles of sustainability entrepreneurship, basically making a sustainable business that does not require continuous charity to run, to make a positive impact in relation to our SDG. We would then be tasked with presenting our plan in a 3-minute pitch to a panel of judges with the top seven teams, one from each track competing that year, presenting the next day in New York City. The startup we settled on was named FishFert; its goal was to help fishing and farming families in Haiti. We planned to accomplish this by using the waste products from the fishing industry in Haiti, bones, scales, organs, etc.. to produce fertilizer that could be sold at much lower prices than that of imported fertilizers. This idea won us the first round of judging, and we were able to progress on to the presentation in New York City at the beautiful Japan Society building. Presenting there in front of a live auditorium audience of our fellow campers and community members was much more intense than speaking to a panel of five judges alone, it was the most people I have ever presented in front of. We were able to deliver our pitch and actually won second place overall which was accompanied by a certificate and access to a post-program course designed to help actually implement the ideas expressed in our business plan.

In conclusion, this week was one of the best in my life so far. I am so thankful for the opportunity and all the people that made it possible from my advisor Jake Hildebrant, my KCV/KSTC contacts Jericho Wilkerson, and Caroline Stivers, to all the people that made camp so amazing. I never thought that I could go from strangers to dancing, with 130 strangers from 60 different countries in less than a week but I did, and I loved every second of it.


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