We partnered with Nittany AI on multiple occasions to enhance their community engagement efforts and foster innovation through AI. Nittany AI is an initiative that brings together students, faculty, and professionals to explore the practical applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning in solving real-world problems.

“We have a whole lot of questions in sustainability, but I’m super excited about what we learned tonight and what is possible [with AI]!”

Dr. Lara Fowler
Chief Sustainability Officer of Penn State

In our first engagement, we organized a virtual Connection Cafe titled “Global Education, AI and the Greater Good”. This event focused on the future of global education and the role of AI, bringing together students, faculty, companies, and organizations interested in a solution-oriented approach to global education.

The event included a a lightning talk by Michelle Weise, author of “Long-Life Learning: Preparing for Jobs that Don’t Event Exist Yet”, around the future of education and AI. We then organized a facilitated exploration of key issues with global leaders in the field, such as personalized education, disenfranchised populations, emotional wellness, education technology solutions, learning analytics, and access to education and technology.

Our next engagement involved leading an in-person workshop titled “Nittany AI Challenge Ideation Workshop: Agriculture & Environmental Sustainability.” This interactive workshop brought together faculty, staff, and local nonprofit leaders with domain knowledge in agriculture and environmental sustainability.

We kicked off the evening by discussing the worst kind of connection we all face daily—spam. We then reframed the concept by encouraging participants to “spam” each other around meaningful issues they wanted to discuss throughout the evening.

Every participant created a spam sheet and was assigned a number. As connections formed, participants gave their numbers to those they connected with, and we tracked these connections on a massive Spam Wall throughout the evening.

In 2 hours with 100 participants, we were able to spark 275 new connections!

Once connections were established, we transitioned to a collaborative ideation session. Each participant received an AI bingo sheet illustrating different ways AI can be applied to solve problems. Participants partnered up to brainstorm solutions to various issues identified by the group.

The workshop saw over 100 attendees and resulted in numerous connections and concrete solutions on how AI can be embedded in addressing environmental sustainability issues.

Through these engagements, we helped Nittany AI strengthen its community and advance its mission to leverage AI for solving real-world problems. Our collaboration resulted in meaningful connections and innovative ideas that continue to drive the initiative forward.

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