Toktabek (left) and Pogossyan (right) at Red Bull Basement University
© Michael Krosny/Red Bull Content Pool
Social Innovation

Two Canadian students are paving the way for a more efficient campus life

Anna Pogossyan and Temirlan Toktabek won Red Bull Basement University in early December, surpassing contenders from over 300 universities with their innovative idea to improve campus life.
By Taylor Sudermann
2 min readPublished on
Anna Pogossyan and Temirlan Toktabek set out to solve the everyday student problem of finding a quiet and accessible place to study in September of this year. That journey took them all the way to Berlin for the Global Meeting of Red Bull Basement, a university-focused challenge that invited students around the world to submit ideas that would bring positive change to their campus.
Before punching their tickets to Berlin, Pogossyan, an environmental design student at OCADU, and Toktabek, a global management studies and entrepreneurship strategy student at Ryerson University, first had to bring their idea to the Red Bull Basement University challenge in Canada where they were selected by a panel of judges to represent that nation in the global competition.
Anna Pogossyan and Temirlan Toktabek prepare their idea
The Vacant duo preparing their prototype during the development phase
Their idea, titled Vacant, proposed using motion sensors fitted to desks and common areas to transmit real-time data about desk and room occupancy to students looking for a place to study.
With the project, their ultimate hope is to reduce the time students waste trying to find a place to study.
Upon earning the national finalist title in Canada, they were then given 30 days and the resources required to begin their prototype before jetting off to the Red Bull Basement University Global Meeting.
During their time overseas, the two spent four days participating in lectures, workshops, mentorship exercises, activities and finished off with the final pitch competition that only five teams that attended the Global Meeting were granted access to. With a determined and a passionate pitch, Pogossyan and Toktabek were selected as the first Red Bull Basement University winners.
Anna Pogossyan and Temirlan Toktabek sat on a sofa
Toktabek and Pogossyan celebrate their victory
Although the competition side of the program has come to an end, the hard work isn’t quite over yet. Pogossyan and Toktabek's next move will be to meet with universities across Canada to run their first pilot and work on the technicalities of the prototype.
With the right support, everyone can get involved in social innovation and become a change maker. The first ever edition of this global university program.
Interested in changing life on your campus? Be sure to follow along and find out more about upcoming Red Bull Basement and Red Bull Basement University events.