I am pleased to report that we’re having great success with our zoom programming during this unusual COVID-altered year.  Record numbers of our ACC universities have participated in each of our Spring programs: all 15 for the Meeting of Minds (Undergraduate Research) Conference, 13 universities entered Inventure Prize Competition, and 13 fielded teams to debate the proposition that “Resolved: ACC member institutions should adopt a rule requiring institutions to interview at least one qualified minority candidate for all head coach and athletic director openings.”

176 students and faculty from all 15 universities were part of the Meeting of the Minds Conference (hosted by UNC).  Unique to this year, the research abstracts and poster presentations continue to be available on the internet (https://symposium.foragerone.com/2021-acc-meeting-of-the-minds).  This continuing access should advantage student researchers as they apply to graduate schools and beyond.

Another enhancement:   This year’s ACC Inventure Prize Competition features undergraduate inventors from 13 universities.  All 13 of their 3-minute pitches will air on PBS in at least six states.  The hour-long broadcast (up from 30 minutes) includes judges questioning the top 5 preseners and a brief report on the commercial success of several winners in previous years.  The presentations are amazing!  I urge you to tune in. Most premieres are this week, Wednesday, April 21st.  Specific times in each state are listed below.  If you miss the broadcast, the 3-minute presentations (but not the judges’ comments and retrospective) will continue to live on the prize website (https://accinventureprize.com/).

Likewise, the debate competition was able to draw upon more student availability and greater flexibility in the recruitment of judges.  Via live-streaming, from around the world, over 150 people tuned in to witness Wake Forest edge out Notre Dame in the championship round.

When next year we return to the weekends together, which so meaningfully expose students to different campuses and enrich networking opportunities, most of these programs will add on innovations birthed in this COVID year.  Stronger internet communication skills at each campus will greatly enhance opportunities for inter-university collaborations.