OSWEGO — GENIUS Olympiad, SUNY Oswego’s global high school competition for environmental innovation and advocacy, has drawn 39 percent more entries than last year, and for the first time has invited projects in entrepreneurship and business social responsibility for the June 15 to 19 event.
Judges chose as finalists 401 of the 1,171 project entries in science, art, creative writing, music, design and business submitted by students from 69 countries and 34 states, according to the competition’s director and founder, Fehmi Damkaci of the SUNY Oswego chemistry faculty.
“This is our fifth year. I think that through positive word-of-mouth, even at the international level, we’re seeing increasing interest,” Damkaci said. “Now we’re seeing siblings of earlier competitors, new schools and new countries.”
GENIUS, which encourages native costumes and pride within a global village atmosphere, has drawn testimonials from around the world.
“Enjoyed meeting new people and exploring the projects,” said one international visitor. “Such an awesome way to promote the love of science and art for the enhancement of the environment.”
The centerpiece of the multicultural scholarly and creative competition remains the display and judging of projects: traditional scholarly posters, demonstrations, performance pieces, stories, artwork and, for the first time, business plans to leverage ideas for new earth-friendly products or to promote environmental solutions and policies for existing companies.
“We are trying to involve more disciplines,” Damkaci said. “Our focus is the environment and whatever touches the environment in terms of improvements and getting things done.”
Judging is rigorous, according to GENIUS guidelines: Science entries — up to two high school students per project — undergo scrutiny over a several-hour period from six to eight judges in science, technology, engineering or math fields, while three to five adults, many from the competition’s multidisciplinary advisory board, judge each of the other categories of entries.
The GENIUS competition will welcome the public to several free events, all in the Marano Campus Center arena: the opening ceremony at 6:15 p.m. Monday, June 15, following up with viewing of projects and a reception starting at 7:15 p.m.; the annual, colorful International Fair at 6:30 p.m. June 16; and the awards ceremony at 1:15 p.m. Thursday, June 18.
A fair with representatives of colleges around the region will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. June 18 on the Marano Campus Center concourse.
The hundreds of competitors and mentors also may participate in outdoor activities and trips to Niagara Falls, Destiny USA and Washington, D.C.
GENIUS this year invited finalists from nearly every region and continent: China and India, Angola and Uganda, Brazil and Ecuador, Iraq and Turkey, Romania and Switzerland and dozens more.
Entrants crisscross the United States from Alaska to Florida, California to Connecticut.
In science, finalist projects include “The Smart Cooker: Development and Realization of a Solution Against Gas Leakage at Home” from Tunisia; “Nonchromosomal Antibiotic Resistance in Bacteria” from Jordan; and “Electricity Obtained from Hydrogen Gas by Used Aluminum Beverage Cans and Using Aluminum Salts as Coagulant” from Turkey.
Art finalists include projects from students in, among others, Tanzania, Tajikistan and Slovenia; creative writing from Turkmenistan, Malaysia and Myanmar; design from Namibia, Kyrgyzstan and Georgia; music from Vietnam, Turkey and Egypt; and business plans from South Korea, Tanzania and Cambodia.
Besides SUNY Oswego, sponsors to date include founding co-sponsor Terra Science and Education Foundation, Pathfinder Bank and Exelon Generation, owner of Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station.
For more information, visit geniusolympiad.org