By Devon Martinez – Student Editor

The strive for innovation requires sacrifice, hard work, but most importantly teamwork, and students in Colorado Springs can experience this by applying for the Quad.

In the Quad, students from PPCC, UCCS, AFA, and CC are placed into groups, and are given a project by a local business, social enterprise, or non-profit. There is a limited amount of time for the students to work out a solution, come up with a proposal, and pitch it to the client.

This provides students with the opportunity to engage in meaningful work, and get paid.

I know from experience because I was on the Affordable Housing for Seniors project for the summer intensive program (there is a semester program as well). The project’s goals were to increase the quality of life at a future affordable housing project in Colorado Springs.

My group found that the majority of seniors living in affordable housing apartments have experienced a decrease in quality of life as they age.

We had four weeks to deliver a proposal filled with workable solutions to our client: Innovations in Aging.

At the time this seemed impossible, but the strength of the Quad comes from its diversity, and the group I was in used it wisely.

My group featured a Colorado College student, two UCCS students, one Air Force Cadet, and me representing Pikes Peak Community College.

The Quad is the only organization to use the capacities of a private liberal arts college, a state research university, a regional community college, and US service Academy in student-led projects for the community.

This is an experience that no one can get anywhere else.

Not only did we go to different schools, but each person in the group had a different major with different life goals. Which meant that as we moved forward each person looked at the problem and solutions with a different mindset.

Our team pivoted several times before we worked on the final proposal, and we weren’t the only group to face complicated problems in the four-week process.

Everything from the frustration, group confrontations, idea brainstorming, the business proposal and proposal pitch to our clients is a small taste into what consultants do.

One example of the Quad bringing value to the community is its work on the Venetucci Farm project.

For over a year the Pikes Peak Community Foundation worked with the Quad to develop revenue streams for Venetucci Farm after the farm lost its largest revenue stream due to tainted water which has plagued the Widefield-Security community. The students were tasked with finding new revenue streams for the farm.

Students came up with dozens of solutions before narrowing it down to a Whiskey Distillery and a wedding venue.

The proposals were taken seriously by the foundation.

One area of success for the Quad is repeating clients, and The Pikes Peak Community Foundation is one of those clients.

Another area of success is returning students. I’m one of them, and there are several more.

This week we began our on-boarding for the 10-week semester Innovation Consulting program. As I sat there with a new group and learned about the project I knew I had made the right decision in applying to do this again.

Despite it being too late to apply for the Fall semester Innovation Consulting, there are always the upcoming Spring and Summer programs for the students interested.