Multiple teams, workshops and general meetings mixed with hard work and maximum effort were the right ingredients for success in for UTD’s Destination Imagination (DI) teams this year.
“Our team building skills really paid off. DI is a lot of fun but it also entails much hard work and dedication,” said Matthew Jamison, freshman biochemistry major.
On March 3, five teams brought home two first places, a second and a third in the state DI competition in Mesquite, Texas.
UTD’s performance ensures them places at the global competition May 26-29 in Knoxville, Tennessee.
“There are not many university teams competing on a state level in Texas so we are guaranteed a spot in Globals,” Jamison said.
In 1998, DI was introduced to UTD students as a creative problem solving extra-curricular activity. This organization is the descendant of Odyssey of the Mind (OM), which encourages students to use innovative ways to solve problems.
“I started out doing OM in middle school and I continued to do it in college because it is fun and a good way to use creativity which I don’t get a chance to use so much in class,” said Megan Malone, junior historical studies major.
Most of the participants have competed for more than three years, which gives them experience in problem solving for this event.
According to the official DI website, the organization allows college-aged students to “learn and use team building and creative problem solving skills in order to prepare themselves for a work force that increasingly places a high value on creativity and innovation.”
The organization has been active throughout the year hosting DI workshops for local elementary and junior high school teams.
UTD is the only university in Texas participating in DI that is able to host such workshops because it receives continued funding from the Office of Undergraduate Education, according to DI advisor Gina Felts.
“Hosting these workshops allows our students to help and learn from others. Also, this is a way that they can give back to the community,” Felts said.
This year, UTD has four DI teams of four to seven students each. Teams are given a “challenge” to work on for several months before the competitions ranging from building structures to making cartoons.
“Each team has a certain budget and time limit with which they have to complete their task. Most teams meet outside of the general meetings in order to finish on time,” Felts said.
The competition is taken very seriously and students can earn college credit for participating on teams.
“Destination Imagination is a good experience for college students. Scholarships as well as credit hours are given to students involved in DI,” Felts said.
DI has allowed many students to build life-long problem solving skills and teamwork. It allows students to experiment with their creativity, she said.