Student teams from 14 schools across nine countries and regions made history as the first cohort to complete Otis’ inaugural Made to Move Communities global student challenge. The program enhances school-based Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum by partnering students with Otis mentors to together develop sustainable solutions to real-world mobility challenges seen in their communities.
“We applaud the dedication and ingenuity that each participating student demonstrated while developing solutions to mobility challenges facing communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Otis President & CEO Judy Marks. “At Otis, we care deeply about nurturing a passion for STEM education for future generations, and we are committed to equitable access to mobility for all. We are excited to celebrate the accomplishments of all who participated.”
The student teams proposed solutions such as improving mobility for aging populations, simplifying grocery delivery and shopping in markets amid the pandemic, making city infrastructure more bicycle-friendly and monitoring crowd density at popular tourist destinations.
Some student projects even posed environmental benefits beyond their intended scope. For example, bicycle-friendly travel options also help cities lower overall greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the number of people who commute by car.
In this first year, student teams from schools in Brazil, China, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Russia, Spain, the United States and Singapore spent eight weeks working with teachers and Otis mentors to develop STEM-based solutions to make it easier, safer, more efficient and more equitable to move within communities most affected by COVID-19. Each team presented their ideas to a virtual panel of Otis leaders who carefully evaluated the presentations. The winners selected in each Otis region were:
Americas: First Place, Bloomfield High School in Connecticut; Second Place, Senac in São Paulo, Brazil; Third Place, Jordan High School in California
Europe, Middle East & Africa: First Place, Romain Rolland Gymnasium in Berlin; Second Place, Colegio Virgen de Europa in Madrid; Third Place, Gymnasium No. 171 of the Central District, St. Petersburg, Russia
Asia Pacific: First Place, ELCHK Yuen Long Lutheran Secondary School in Hong Kong SAR; Second Place, International College of Technology (ICT) Kanazawa in Ishikawa, Japan; Third Place, Institute of Technical Education in Singapore
China: First Place, Beijing Institute of Technology; Second Place, Zhejiang University; Third Place, Shanghai Jiaotong University
Communities and student teams were not the only groups to benefit from the program and the creative ideas presented, teachers and Otis employee volunteers also gained new perspectives.
“I’ve found student interactions to be the most enjoyable aspect of the program,” says Wang Chi Lau, senior service supervisor and a program ambassador, Otis Hong Kong. “They constantly thought outside-the-box and I was always delighted to hear their unique ideas for improving our community.”
Otis mentors dedicated more than 1,500 volunteer hours to working with the student teams.
“The level of enthusiasm each team put into improving the world is inspiring,” adds Sarah Cosic-Ayanovich, field service manager and a program mentor, Otis Americas. “I am very thankful for the opportunity to have mentored a team. The students taught me a great deal about bold thinking and adapting to new environments.”
As part of Made to Move Communities, Otis will celebrate Lift Our Communities Month each April. It’s an opportunity to announce the winning student teams, recognize and thank employee volunteers, and highlight the impact of this program and all the ways Otis is investing in local communities and encouraging employee volunteerism.
Otis plans to build on the success of Made to Move Communities’ pilot year by increasing the number of students and employees engaged in 2022 and beyond.