As finals edge closer, an entrepreneurship class has organized a water balloon contest to help students release their stress and raise money for Ozone House, a non-profit organization that provides youth and family services in Ann Arbor and surrounding areas.

The class – Industrial and Operations Engineering 422, taught by Prof. Ken Ludwig – puts emphasis on educating college students to start their own businesses.

The water balloon fundraising event – the main project of the class – gave the students a real-life opportunity to use the knowledge they gained from the class, Ludwig said.

“The objective is that they find a project to do on the last day of class that involves the entire class and raises money for charity,” he said.

Students reached a consensus at their first meeting, deciding to hold a water balloon contest, which would allow other students to buy two water balloons for a dollar to throw at human targets.

The human targets consisted of students as well as Ludwig and the class graduate student instructor. They lined up on the North Campus Diag and prepared to get wet.

“I’m not only willing but happy to be a target because my students asked me to,” Ludwig said. “I’d be a pretty poor example if I wanted to stand on the sideline, because one of the things about entrepreneurship is to be engaged and this is how I’m entrepreneurial these days at the University.”

Ludwig said entrepreneurship is about stress, risk, talent, strength and creativity. Apart from starting a business, he added that it also means living a creative and innovative life.

Engineering senior Erik Syrjannen echoed Ludwig’s view and said the course motivated him to consider being an entrepreneur someday.

“These days the economy is not doing great, many people are finding it hard to get a job and they are looking for new ideas,” Syrjannen said.

Within two hours, the group collected more than $200 from students, staff and faculty members who passed by.

“Getting people to participate is so much harder than we anticipated. I guess this is the first time they see this form of fund raising,” Engineering senior Rosalyn Woo said.

“But I think we are all happy with the results of this activity. We all had fun and certainly brought some fun to the North Campus area.”

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