Carnegie Mellon University

Results of the Inaugural UPLift Challenge 

The inaugural, pilot year of the CMU UPLift Challenge was an enormous success!

The creative ideas received from students, faculty and staff were beyond all expectations. All told, the Task Force on the CMU Experience received 59 proposals (many of which were teams that included faculty, student and staff members) and have approved four to move forward during the 2017-18 academic year.

The selected projects are listed below. Work will begin on the recipient UPLift Projects this summer, with completion throughout the 2017-18 academic year. The Task Force on the CMU Experience, including members of the Campus Infrastructure working group, would like to thank each and every proposer and passionate member of the campus commmunity who supported this effort. We look forward to another successful year of project proposals, so stay tuned for an announcement of the next UPLift Challenge!

*This project is dedicated to the work of the late University Professor Larry Cartwright, whose heart was in mentoring and working with students to improve the student experience through various placemaking projects.

A colorful sketch of students napping in hammocks under shade umbrellas

“Dodo” Hammock Cluster and Nap Map (Health and Wellness)

Proposed by: Stefan Gruber, Faculty, School of Architecture, College of Fine Arts (CFA); and Yidan Gong and Chun Zheng, Graduate Students, School of Architecture, CFA

Inspired by the French children’s word for napping, “Dodo” creates a dedicated space for napping on CMU's campus during the fall, summer and spring seasons, while promoting awareness for the benefits of sleeping on our campus. Stay tuned for details on the campus location for this innovative space! A corresponding Nap Map will also highlight the best spaces on campus to grab a snooze! If you have a favorite nap space you wish to share, feel free to send your ideas to us via email

A photo of the Gates Center

Enhancement of Gates Outdoor Space (Health and Wellness)

Proposed by: Angela Lusk and Elizabeth Rappaport, Division of Student Affairs (DOSA); and James Skees, Dean's Office, School of Computer Science (SCS)

UPLift will enhance the seating area for the outdoor space east of the Gates Center, adding new benches so community members are encouraged to meet outside of Rohr Café for coffee or take their studies outside, weather permitting. The addition of an outdoor grill to the location will also increase the functionality of the space and attract groups looking to host barbeques or other communal events. This project complements planned renovations to the existing volleyball court outside Gates, which the SCS Dean’s Office will resurface to create a more resilient playing area. This fun and engaging space will benefit the entire campus community.

A picture of the proposed yoga zone

Games for Health (Health and Wellness)

Proposed by: Michael Arnold Mages and Francis Carter, Graduate Students, School of Design, CFA

Games for Health involves a series of playful, strategically-placed “micro-intervention” signs throughout campus with the intention of sharing healthy tips and exercise and wellness activities. Signs, games and designated healthy lifestyle zones across the university will encourage students and staff to participate in playful activities which allow them to practice active living, relieve stress or become more attuned to their bodies and self. Beyond encouraging personal health and wellness, individuals will leave the experience better understanding how small actions can lead to a lifetime of self-care.

A picture of an empty swingset on a quiet lawn.

Campus Swingset (Health and Wellness) 

Proposed by: Ariana Weinstock, Student, Class of 2017, SCS

As a way to relieve stress, take a break from one’s daily routine and turn campus into a space for play, we will be installing a swing set uniquely designed for our campus. If you want to pick your feet up and relive playground moments from your childhood, the swings will be located on the lawn space in Donner Ditch. 

A picture of Wean Hall with colorful lights on the ceiling.

Wean Stairwell Installation (Crossroads of the Mind)

Proposed by: Geoffrey McGovern, Faculty, Institute for Politics and Strategy

In an effort to (literally) brighten the Wean stairwell, a creative light display, consisting of forty color-changing illuminated tubes will be installed between the Floors 4 and 5 in Wean Hall. As a study in color theory, the installation presents a continuous pattern that reveals itself as visitors traverse the stairwell. Ideally, this renovation will improve this highly trafficked corridor, while also creating a conversation piece that brings joy to Wean!