The Grocery Challenge

The Near West Side Grocery Challenge: It’s In the Bag

At his annual address to the campus community, President Lovell announced a Grocery Challenge that is open to the campus community. Bringing a grocery store to campus and Near West Side neighborhood residents has been a focus for President Lovell since he came to Marquette. After meeting with dozens of developers and local grocers, President Lovell said Marquette was taking the grocery store issue “into our own hands.”

President Lovell hopes that student-generated proposals will be part of the solution. Throughout the semester, participants will form teams, explore potential options, meet with residents, “speed network” with local experts, and pitch their solutions. Some of the ideas will be piloted in the fall of 2017.

The Challenge: How It Works

Participants will have day-to-day support from a team of Marquette staff and some overarching guidance from key University Leadership, Near West Side staff, and others interested in supporting the Challenge. In addition, student teams can participate in a speed networking event featuring local grocery experts to get feedback on ideas and suggestions for next steps.

At the end of the semester, teams will pitch their recommendations and ideas to a panel of judges. Judges and Marquette leadership will evaluate all ideas and help select one or more to pilot in the fall semester. “Winning” teams and ideas will receive seed funding to implement the pilots. Interested students can apply to be a summer grocery fellow and keep working on their idea.

Looking Ahead

The goal is to generate innovative, affordable, and sustainable models to bring fresh foods to the Near West Side and pilot a variety of ideas to determine the appropriate mix of fresh food retail options. We want grocery options that are inclusive to everyone who calls the Near West Side home – and change the narrative around “grocery”.

Milestones

  • January 31st – kick off
    Register for kickoff
    Students, faculty, and staff are invited to join the Grocery Challenge kickoff in the AMU Ballroom at 3:00 p.m. on January 31st to learn more. At the kickoff, participants will learn about the Near West Side neighborhood, understand the complexities of the grocery store business, and become aware of innovative models of grocery. Registration is preferred.
  • Training for students – date and time TBD
  • February 20th – resident meeting #1 at Harley-Davidson at 6:30-8 p.m.
  • Early March – resident meeting #2 at Neighborhood House at TBD time
  • Networking (modeled after Technori showcase) – March 30th at 4:30-6:30 p.m.
  • Final Pitches – April 20th at 4 p.m.

Research and Resources

Check out some great local resources as you go through the discovery phase:

Have an idea or want to be involved?

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