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‘Shark Tank’ comes to Coastal to find a winning idea for campuswide event

February 14, 2019
Students have 10 minutes to pitch an idea and a plan for a campuswide, public event to be held later this semester. The winning idea earns $8,000 to make the event a reality.D'Andre Fletcher, SGA president.Debbie Conner, vice president for campus life and student engagement.

Coastal Carolina University’s Student Government Association (SGA) is hoping to be blown out of the water by student organizations at a “Shark Tank” event Feb. 14. Students will pitch their ideas for a campuswide event to a panel of “sharks.” Out of the three finalists selected by the sharks, the audience will vote on the winning team that will be awarded $8,000 to plan and host its event this semester.

This event mimics the hit ABC show “Shark Tank” and was open to all campus organizations. Organizations had the option of teaming up with one other to plan an event in its entirety, including dates, pricing and location. Thirteen teams submitted their proposals via email for the SGA to approve beforehand. Then, the teams enter the “Shark Tank” in front of an audience on Feb. 14.

Each team is allowed five representatives from their organization(s). They receive a 10-minute time slot for their pitch, incorporating a slideshow presentation, poster or props to aid in selling the idea to the “sharks.”

The sharks are Debbie Conner, vice president for campus life and student engagement; D’Andre Fletcher, SGA president; Lacquan Irby, vice president of public relations for the SGA; Kayla Jackson, vice president of finance for SGA; and Michael Roberts, vice president for research and emerging initiatives and the dean of the College of Science.

Once all teams have presented, the panel of five judges will discuss and then announce the winner of the $8,000 prize for event funding.

This is the first year the SGA is putting on the “Shark Tank” event. The event was Fletcher’s idea.

“The ‘Shark Tank’ is designed to reward big ideas that will push the envelope and shake things up,” said Fletcher. “We encourage participants to be bold.”

By including the audience in the voting process of choosing the winner of “Shark Tank,” the SGA is providing an opportunity for students to speak up about future events they want to see on campus.

“We want to give students an equal opportunity to have a louder voice on what they want to see happen on this campus,” said Jackson. “We want them to get creative and give us ideas that could become new events.”

The winning event will take place on campus by the end of the Spring 2019 semester. All Coastal Carolina students, faculty and staff can attend the proposed event, along with the general public.

Jackson hopes this event inspires campus organizations to request funding from the SGA for future student-led events.

“Just because a team didn’t win ‘Shark Tank’ doesn’t mean their idea can’t develop into something in the future,” said Jackson. “We want to get the word out there that most organizations can come to us, and we are here to help.”

According to Jackson, the SGA exists to benefit the 10,600 students enrolled at CCU and give students the opportunity to have creative input into campus life. The SGA serves as a unified voice of the student body and a conduit between CCU students and the administration to provide students with services and representation. The SGA executive board takes feedback from its fellow students seriously, and makes decisions that will ultimately benefit the student body as a whole.

“It is so important for the students to communicate with the SGA so we know what needs to be done,” she said.

For example, Jackson recently worked with Transportation Services to implement a new Express Shuttle that goes from the YY lot to campus and back to alleviate the frustration she said students expressed with parking. Another example of the SGA working to improve student life on campus is Fletcher’s work to increase the minimum wage for student employees on campus from $7.25 per hour to $8.25 per hour beginning January 2019.

Shark Tank is free and open to the public. The SGA encourages the community to attend this event on Thursday, Feb. 14, at 6 p.m. in the Coastal Theater, Room A-110 of the Lib Jackson Student Union.

For more information about the SGA, visit coastal.edu/osl/studentgovernmentassociation or follow the SGA on social media: @CoastalSGA.