As part of a global environmental concern about trash, a University of Cincinnati team proposed the “Renew Trash Compactor,” a new product and service that reduces trash, increases recycling, improves sanitation and generates income for the Padli Gujar village in India.
Mark Schutte, Carmen Ostermann, Morgen Schroeder and Autumn Utley, all University of Cincinnati students, headed to Minnesota to present their compactor in the next round of the Acara Challenge.
The competition is organized by the Acara Institute and administered by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment, with the mission to mold students into a new generation of leaders by providing them with insight into global issues and how to influence change.
The environmental challenge given to students came through “Take The Challenge for Sustainable Design and Development,” a multidisciplinary course offered as part of the University Honors Program at UC. The course is taught by Rajan Kamath, associate professor of management, and Ratee Apana, associate professor-educator of management/international business.
“The course encourages students to think boldly and break with convention and rules,” Apana says.
First-round winners from all competing universities are fine-tuning business plans in the second-round of the competition, where four winning teams will be awarded a $5,000 scholarship and the opportunity to attend the University of Minnesota Acara Summer Institute in Bangalore, India.
The UC team, one of six in the country from colleges such as Duke University, Cornell University, Arizona State University, is paired with industry mentors to create business plans for their ideas.
“The compactor was designed to be simple and affordable,” Utley says.“The waste collection service, which accompanies the compactor, will generate 29 well-paying jobs for the community and additional household income.”
If the team makes it to the summer institute in India, members will meet with top entrepreneurs and capitalists to further develop their idea and help secure funding.
By Evan Wallis