GW asks faculty and staff to pitch fresh cost-cutting or money-making ideas

Then-Junior Joe Holleran, right, and then-second-year law student Alex Schneider, middle, each received a free year of tuition for their cost-saving ideas last spring. The University is hoping to entice faculty and staff to pitch similar ideas with a cash prize or free parking. Photo courtesy of GW Media Relations.
Then-junior Joe Holleran, right, and then-second-year law student Alex Schneider, center, each received a year’s worth of free tuition for their cost-saving ideas last spring. The University is now hoping to entice faculty and staff to pitch similar ideas with a cash prize or free parking. Photo courtesy of GW Media Relations.
The Innovation Task Force is offering a $3,000 cash prize or a year of free campus parking to a faculty or staff member who pitches an idea for the University to make or save $1 million annually.

The competition marks the first time GW has asked faculty and staff to pitch ideas to cut costs or raise funds for the six-year-old program. Last year, the task force’s chair encouraged students to propose projects for the first time.

Two students each received a year of free tuition last spring for their ideas to automatically turn off energy-consuming technology across campus and stop using a third-party company to make international payments. Dave Lawlor, senior associate vice president for finance and chair of the innovation task force, said in a release that the competition for faculty and staff will be similar to the student competition,

Lawlor received 47 pitches for the student contest last year, and GW will offer another $50,000 scholarship to a student who pitches the winning project this year.

Before last fall, primarily administrators in departments across the University had created and led cost-saving and revenue-generating initiatives.

“For the university, the best ideas for new revenue, fundraising, research, savings, whatever the category, often come from the folks who are, on a day-to-day basis, running GW,” Lawlor said in the release.

Faculty, staff and students will have until Oct. 24 to submit their ideas to be eligible for their respective prizes.

Officials are looking for ideas in areas that went largely untapped after they softened expectations for the signature program. Last year, its directors decided to no longer count the $25 million they had set aside from various projects because the dollar-earning potential of some projects had been exaggerated.

That announcement slowed the program’s quick success, and some faculty said they doubted it would continue to grow. University President Steven Knapp’s original goal for the program was to identify $60 million in new savings or revenue by 2015, which officials have said they still expect to meet.

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