Three teams prepare for international sustainability competition

June 12, 2014

Teams prepare for SCIC
Indoor gardens that offer students a breath of fresh air, an event that gives new life to gently used household items and an alternative to the ubiquitous disposable pen are the top three MacEwan University student projects that will move on to the Sustainable Campus International Competition.

The second annual competition gives students around the world the chance to turn their learning into real-world sustainability action by creating projects they can implement on their campuses in one academic year.

Choosing three MacEwan University finalists to go on to the international competition from the collection of innovative project ideas was not an easy task, says Jeff Davis, an engineering faculty member whose students created design proposals as part of his Engineering 101 course. Some of Jeff’s students chose to take what they learned in the classroom and see if it could stand up in the competition, so Jeff volunteered his time as chair on the judging panel. He says he was impressed by the submissions from teams across campus. “The proposals were all clear, simple and well thought out, and most were very viable projects.”

Three proposals stood out as having the most potential to impact sustainability and the first finalist – the MacEwan Indoor Garden Project – was awarded a $3,000 prize sponsored by the student club Enactus MacEwan University. Now those three teams are reviewing feedback from the judges, developing their business cases and preparing videos to submit to the international competition by June 30, where another $3,000 prize is at stake.

A breath of fresh air

The MacEwan Indoor Garden Project aims to improve the learning environment – and the air quality – with indoor plantings in areas that have a high student concentration. It includes a piping system that uses recycled tap water to automatically water the plants.

“Our team wanted an idea that would cheer up the average student and help the environment at the same time,” says Justin Lutz, whose team members include fellow engineering students Calvin Steendam, Travis Yochim, Connor Norstrom, and Mathew Guimaraes. He says creating the proposal was a great learning experience and a good reminder that people need plants to survive. “Sometimes I think people forget how much we depend on plants. We’re looking forward to reminding them.”

Re-love market gives used items new life

Students from business, science and arts are behind the Re-Love Market proposal, which centres on a massive two-day reuse market in early September. The idea is to find new homes for the average 15 kilograms per student of reusable household and clothing items that are tossed at the end of each year and create a swap event for people to exchange unwanted high quality home and fashion items. Team members include Jon Heinz, Margaret Szava-Kovats, Nick Kaushal, Christopher Dean and Oleksandr Antonenko.

Building a better pen

How many disposable pens have you tossed or lost in the past year? A team of engineering students is designing and building the Stylic Re-usable Pen – a low-cost, long-life refillable design that the team hopes to put in the hands of MacEwan University staff and students. Team members include Brennan Prasad, Piotr Nicewicz, Durad Stolic, Michael Lali, and Matthew Sterenberg.

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