Become a partner org Pic

Become a partner organization

If you are interested in participating in MiddCORE Immersion in Middlebury, VT or in Lake Tahoe, NV, please fill out the form.

Partnering with MiddCORE

Engaging with MiddCORE as a partnering organization enables organizations to ideate and innovate with a multidisciplinary group of MiddCORE students and a network of MiddCORE mentors.   It provides students the chance to interact with local organizations and consumers on issues or initiatives they are experiencing.  In the past, students have worked on challenges posed by organizations such as Terracycle, Seventh Generation, 1% for the Planet, Achievement First, VBT, Commando, Life is Good, Universal Music, and Sword & Plough.

How partnering with MiddCORE works

It is not enough to simply present a question, challenge, or problem; students must be equipped with the skills necessary to address the challenge.  After the project is designed, MiddCORE will invite experts to facilitate experiential workshops which encourage the students’ personal skill development and reinforce their work on the challenge.

As a complement to the challenges MiddCORE may invite: an innovation design firm like IDEO to develop a workshop that applies human-centered design-thinking to the specific challenge; social media experts to provide students with the tools to build a movement or increase outreach; finance experts and venture capitalists to help assess financial feasibility of a particular initiative related to the challenge.

What is the value to the organization?

The partnering organization benefits from the collective energy of over 20 students and 5-10 mentors on their strategic challenge.  Often, certain students are excited to continue the work that they started on the project and may intern with the organization after MiddCORE is over. Partners also have the chance to participate in our skill-building sessions and to interact with a network of mentors.

How long is the commitment?

Before MiddCORE:
-3 Phone or in person meetings
-Case revisions in order to craft the project with MiddCORE

During MiddCORE:
-The partner is required to attend three 3 hour sessions: an introductory session, a prototyping session and a session for final presentations
-If necessary,  accommodations will be provided for the partner organization

What working with MiddCORE students looks like

The partner organization meets with the MiddCORE team to develop and scope a project(s) that serves as both a learning opportunity for the students and provides real value to the partnering organization.

During the first session, community partners meet with students to discuss the challenge that they are to consider for a 1 to 2 week period (this depends on the challenge).

In the first phase of the project the students ideate, conduct field work and identify potential possibilities.  In a second session, mentors are invited to give feedback to the students on the initial prototypes and concepts.  During the later phase of the project students test their idea through further field work.  In the third session students will present their strategic plan to the partnering organization.  The organization is under no obligation to implement the ideas of the students, however, we ask that the partner give feedback to the student groups on the quality and feasibility of the ideas.

The process for designing a challenge

1. The prospective partnering organization completes the project brainstorm form below
2. MiddCORE and the organization meet to review project ideas
3. The partnering organization and MiddCORE start to craft the challenge (this requires the ability to provide MiddCORE with relevant information about the organization and contacts for the case)

Guidelines for a weeklong strategic challenge

1.  Projects are relevant to the local stakeholders involved with the challenge
2.  Projects are clearly framed so that students can conduct some fieldwork and present at the end of the week, but allow for enough freedom so that students are open to opportunity
3.  Deliverables push students to develop new ideas and to outline how those ideas could be implemented

Examples of MiddCORE Challenges

To give you an idea of some of the challenges in past MiddCOREs, below is a list of challenge statements that organizations have presented to students.

  • Vermont Bookshop
    Reimagine the Vermont Bookshop in the digital age.
  • Terracycle
    Imagine or identify local waste streams on the Middlebury campus and create a Middlebury campus Terracycle upcycling program
  • VBT (Bicycling and Walking Vacations)
    Imagine and create a new product or service that VBT could deliver from November to April
  • Commando
    Develop and market a new product line
  • Seventh Generation
    Create a cold water wash movement among American consumers
  • Birthing Project USA
    Identify creative ways to reach participants, funders and volunteers
  • Achievement First
    Develop a nationwide campaign to promote and enhance networks and resources for first generation college graduates
  • Sword & Plough
    Develop and market a new product line
  • Peet’s Coffee & Tea
    Reimagine the coffee and tea experience for young adults 
  • Google/YouTube
    Reimagine its platform and sales strategy to become the premium outlet for media buyers and advertisers


Initial Project Brainstorm Form:

MiddCORE was awarded The 2014 Ashoka U-Cordes Innovation Award which recognizes high impact in education innovations.


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