Local organization challenges teams to solve sea level rise

Community

NORFOLK, Va.– A local non-profit is challenging teams and entrepreneurs to come up with ways to solve sea level rise.

Rise is a non-profit organization that focuses on solving resilience problems in coastal communities, including sea level rise, recurrent flooding and economic resilience.

At the end of the month, they’ll host a Solveathon facilitated by MIT Solve.

The event will bring in those with ideas to sit down with city officials and experts on how to stop the problem in Hampton Roads.

“We’re just going to put it out to the world and the world is going to focus right here in Hampton Roads on the problem of sea level rise,” said Anne Conner, who is on the organization’s board of directors.

Teams have until the summer to submit ideas.

Rise has more than $1 million in its fund to help teams accomplish their solutions in Hampton Roads, which can then be used in other coastal communities.

Those living in Hampton Roads communities already affected by the problem are excited.

“To think those people would take time out of their daily lives to help us prepare for future events, from the situation getting worse, it feels great knowing they would care for us,” said Cheryll Sumner, who is the president of the Chesterfield Heights Civic League.

Sumner grew up in the neighborhood and now lives there with her family.

She said the banks of the Elizabeth River keep eroding away.

“There’s no more beach there. As the year’s gone by, the water is just rising and rising,” she said about the riverbank.

Sumner said students from local universities have already been out to the neighborhood and are brainstorming plans to help residents, who also experience flooding from groundwater.

She believes that flooding gets worse with every storm.

“I’ve learned that we need hurry up and do something about it because it’s not going to stop,” she said.

Sumner is hoping that whatever ideas are developed through the challenge can help preserve the community she has so many memories in.

“That’s something we would love to protect,” she said.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the sixth floor of Slover Library on May 31.

To learn more and register, visit https://riseresilience.org/rise-resilience-challenge/  or https://solve.mit.edu/challenges/coastal-communities

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