WarriorsINNOVATE winners announced to campus

WarriorsINNOVATE winners announced to campus

Kellen Brandt, Features Reporter

The Winona State University Foundation, for the third year in a row, has hosted the WarriorsINNOVATE Challenge. For two individuals and one group at Winona State University, their ideas and dreams are being turned into a reality with the help of the WarriorsINNOVATE Challenge.

Winona State’s Film Club won $2,500 to help them create a campus cinema that will showcase student films and feature full-length box office films free to students and the community.

The WSU Campus Cinema group, Brynn Artley, Noah Mruz, Madeline Peterson,  Hailey Torborg and Brinley Zoller, are all sophomores and juniors film majors and members of the Film Club.

They shared their excitement for the future of their idea.

“This idea started as a challenge issued by my professor in my Film 490 projects curating class last semester. Dr. Johnson challenged everyone in the class to create a campus cinema because it is something the university does not have, and it would be awesome to have,” Artley said.

The project started between Artley and Peterson in class until they brought it to the Film Club and started making it a reality.

“At first I thought it was unrealistic and kept thinking to myself ‘how could I ever do that?’ But once it got rolling and we started talking I realized ‘oh my gosh this is something we actually can do,’” Torborg said.

The Film Club spent nearly six months working on the plans and proposals to be ready for the challenge. Mruz said the group put in a lot of time to make their dream a reality but mentioned they still have much more work to do before they can get it up and running.

While the planning process was hard at times and the Film Club ran into speedbumps, they said they all knew in the end it would come together and work.   

“I think we knew it would all work out in the end because we all have experience with the Film Club and with the film series as well,” Torborg said. “We were able to consider all the things that we put into those experiences to make this happen.”

Going forward, the Film Club plans to use the money they won from the WarriorsINNOVATE Challenge to get the cinema up and running for this upcoming fall. They hope to collaborate with existing groups on campus to help promote different films.       

“Down the road we would like our own place to do it but for now it is going to be held in Stark 103 since we have shown many other films there for the Resilience series and other things like that,” Zoller said.

Mruz said the judges were excited to see a new and creative thing to bring to campus. They encouraged the Film Club to work with other groups and bring more people into the idea.    

“We started a campus cinema, we got it up and running and it’s pretty cool to have this legacy feeling.” Mruz said. “It will be cool to come back in 10 years and see something we did up and running and making a difference still.”

The challenge is not only a place for making an idea a reality, but it is also a place for students to turn their passions into realities.

For Christopher Schroeder, junior film studies major, the WarriorsINNOVATE Challenge is helping him with his movie business, Prime Time Filmz.

“Prime Time Filmz is something I made so I could showcase the films I produce,” Schroeder said. “I show my movies on YouTube, that is my only platform for now.”

As the owner and head of Prime Time Filmz, Schroeder turned his passion for films and acting into a business.      

“There are different channels on YouTube to showcase the different kinds of movies Prime Time Filmz produces,” Schroeder said. “I’ve been working on this for about two years now I only have plans to make it bigger and better.”     

Schroeder felt nothing but disbelief when the judges called his name.

“When the judges came out and said my name, I didn’t believe it, I was shocked. The judges were really supportive of the idea and they thought it was really creative,” Schroeder said. “The judges were excited for me and excited to see what I was going to do with it going forward.”

The third and final winner of this year’s WarriorsINNOVATE Challenge was Nathaniel Smith, senior composite materials engineering major.

Smith started his business, “P.S. Adventure More” and made a scratch off poster map of the United States that is covered in gold foil, so the visited states can be scratched off when the state has been visited.

“The name comes from my nickname, which is Phano, and then my last name, Smith, making the P.S., and then the adventure more to just remind people at the end of it to remember to go adventure,” Smith said.

Smith always knew he wanted to start a business, but never knew what he wanted to do. After eight months of brainstorming, Smith finally decided on the scratch off map after seeing some world maps but no great U.S. maps.    

“Making the map itself took about 200 hours of design work and then another 150 hours of communication with the manufacture I was working with,” Smith said.

Going forward, Smith plans to design, produce, manufacture and ship a world map to Amazon since he still has approximately 300 U.S. maps still to be shipped.     

Another idea Smith has is to make a national parks map containing all the national parks. The back would have facts and the maps could sell in the national parks.

“There are not enough dreamers in this world, so having the WarriorsINNOVATE Challenge can really inspire people to put some risk out there. It meant a lot to me and was really inspiring to me and my ideas,” Smith said.