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New UVA Venture Aims to Open Grounds Worldwide

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A new venture for innovation is now open at the University of Virginia to connect students on grounds with educators, researchers, and business executives around the globe.

OpenGrounds has a prime street-side location in The Corner Building along West Main Street at the gateway to UVA grounds.  In it, groups will gather to share ideas and insights, conduct collaborative research and exhibit work.

Bill Sherman, architect and founding director of OpenGrounds, said the location was chosen as because it is a place where students, medical faculty, the staff of the university, and townspeople all cross paths.

The 1,200-square-foot facility is a flexible space equipped with rolling tables to reconfigure at will. Dry-erase walls also let visitors leave behind their ideas.  

"This is a network.  This is not just a single space," said Sherman.  "It can connect you around the globe." 

The launch of the space brought together business innovators from around the globe Tuesday, including UVA alumnus Doug Garland, who is a former Google executive and currently serves as chief revenue officer for the music application Shazam.

"Today's problems are not isolated in a single discipline," said Garland. "You need to bring together a number of disciplines and people to really solve the problems we face today."

OpenGrounds is like a laboratory for the mind.  Students, professors, and people from the Charlottesville community can collaborate and share ideas to inspire and develop new projects and products.

"They're going to be articulating questions to help people see things in new ways, and then bring their imaginations to those questions," said UVA Vice President of Research Tom Skalak.

UVA already plans to open an OpenGrounds North Studio space at the Darden School of Business.  Click here for more information.