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Columbus State student “green” project among ten finalists in national competition

Campus News | Friday, June 4, 2021

A three-member student team has been selected to compete in the annual Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC). The CCIC is a national competition where teams of two, three or four students, work with a mentor using science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to provide solutions to real-world problems. The National Science Foundation, in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges, manages the CCIC. 

Alan Cruz-Lopez, 20, and Colin Malone and Katie Schantz, 19, collaborated and formed Team Greenago. Working remotely, they created the concept of a sustainable, realistic and rewarding way for college students to reduce waste. Their concept is to place SMART, self-compacting recycling bins on college campuses that reward students for recycling through their Greenago App. The Greenago bins contain scales and barcode scanners to track deposited recyclable materials. Students get points that can be cashed in for gift cards, books or more. (See their video here.)

“This opportunity was such a great experience for me and gave me the motivation to continue to want to try to lead in new ways,” says Schantz. “Knowing that we made it to the finals is an acknowledgment of our hard work, it is encouraging and inspiring.” (Read official submission.)

 “Having our students leverage their modern technology education they receive within their academic programs to solve systematic problems prepares them for in-demand STEM careers,” says David Nowak, Columbus State interim chairperson of Information Systems Technology. “Their passion for succeeding, and in this case, earn national recognition, will provide resume-worthy accomplishments for their next steps after graduation.”

Team Greenago will join the other national team finalists at a Boot Camp. It will include a Student Innovation Showcase where congressional members, community college leaders, STEM stakeholders and others will learn about the students’ ideas and proposed solutions. The Showcase will be held on Wednesday, June 16 from 3-5 p.m. (EDT). 

Judging will occur during a Team Pitch Presentation on Thursday, June 17 from 1-3:30 p.m. when each team highlights the merits of their innovations before a panel of distinguished judges  and Boot Camp colleagues. The Team Pitch Presentation, coupled with the Student Innovation Showcase, will determine the first, second, and third-place winning teams. 

This is the first application and entry into the national competition by a Columbus State student group. Kaylor Ramey, the coordinator for Partnerships and Programs at the College, is providing support for Team Greenago.                                                                     


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