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Student “green” project among ten finalists in national competition

Update | Tuesday, May 11, 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, Colin Malone, and Katie Schantz collaborated and formed Team Greenago. Working remotely, the 19-year-olds 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.)

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.

About the Columbus State students
Alan Cruz-Lopez is working toward an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Mechanical Engineering Technology. He is a student in the Modern Manufacturing Work-Study program and currently taking classes while working as a co-op at Honda. 

Katie Schantz is working through her AAS in Cybersecurity and is enrolled in the
IT Flexible Apprenticeship Program

Colin Malone is pursuing his AAS in Business Management. Colin is studying remotely from Kentucky where he is interning on an equine ranch.




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