Student activities

An appetite for learning, a hunger to help

When third-year BCom student Connor Bildfell told people his idea for the campus-wide Pitch It competition, they looked at him like he'd lost his mind.

"Seriously?" they asked. "In 2012? You're going to create a magazine?"

Creating a print publication in the twenty-first century sure sounds like a challenge that would force a guy to develop business savvy and become more adept at solving problems; and those were Connor's reasons for entering both Pitch It and Plan It. However, that isn't all he was after. Not just any old magazine would do.

Specifically, his idea was to start a magazine loaded with information about eating disorders and resources for the people who have conditions likeanorexia and bulimia, and for their families and friends.

"I went through this experience," says Connor who, at six foot one, once weighed 126 pounds. "It can be difficult to relate to."

He knows first-hand how hard it can be to see the problem for oneself, and he saw his parents' anguish as they researched ways to help him.

"I had gone to clinics," he explains. "You sit in the waiting room and pick up a magazine..."

It seemed to him that this would be a great medium for providing "themost good for the most people," he says. It's also one way he can make a meaningful contribution that will help others who are still struggling.

The lion's share of people with eating disorders are young – perhaps 95 percent are between 13 and 25 years old. As well, the relapse rate is huge for people who try to treat themselves without a support system.

"So being able to connect to families is the big thing," Connor says.

On January 26, Connor made his verbal proposal at the campus-wide Pitch It competition, and the judges loved it – to the tune of $300.

Then Connor really buckled down, developing and honing a business plant that would stand up to fierce scrutiny – and competition from across UVic.

"[Plan It]," he says, "allowed me to get a different perspective, to take an analytical viewpoint."

It also provided another win for Connor, who took home both the $2,000 second-place prize plus the $1,500 Social Value award.

So those people who thought he was crazy? Yeah. Not so much.