Student Innovators: Ben Gillis and Aaron Codden
Published March 2016
Ben Gillis and Aaron Codden are among the 13 NDSU students selected to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative University in Berkeley, California, in April.
The initiative challenges college students to address social issues with practical, innovative solutions. Each participant develops a new, specific and measurable plan to address the societal need they have identified. Only about 1,000 students around the country are invited to the conference.
Gillis: Junior in architecture, with a minor in philosophy
Codden: Junior triple majoring in architecture, Spanish and international studies
Gillis: New Richmond, Wisconsin
Codden: Big Lake, Minnesota
Their project: A design proposal to create small-scale sustainable shelters in underused areas of downtown Fargo that would serve as a temporary refuge for the homeless and residents in need.
Effect on society: “Both of us study and live in downtown Fargo, and we have witnessed how the weather can be extremely dangerous to those without shelter. While we are unable to devise a permanent solution to poverty-stricken residents of the area, we hope to use our abilities as designers to do what we can to mitigate these effects.”
Next steps: “Following the conference, we plan to present our ideas to our fellow design students as well as developers and property owners in the area. Future goals include eventual prototyping and construction of the shelters, as well as educating the NDSU and Fargo communities on the issues of homelessness and gentrification.”