RIT Packaging Science Students Take Top Prize in National Design Challenge

Undergraduates recognized for sustainable packaging and multi-purpose design

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Lynsie Gibson and Zachary Mendoza, fourth-year packaging science majors, won first place in the 2009 Student Design Challenge, for their entry, Sustainable Paperboard Packaging Innovation.

Packaging science students from Rochester Institute of Technology were awarded first place in the 2009 Student Design Challenge at the recent PackExpo national conference and exhibition in Las Vegas. Lynsie Gibson and Zachary Mendoza, both fourth-year students in the RIT College of Applied Science and Technology, won first place for their entry Sustainable Paperboard Packaging Innovation.

“When we won first, we both looked at each other in shock,” says Mendoza, of Geneseo, N.Y. “Winning this is awesome. We were both taken by surprise.”

The design challenge is sponsored by the Paperboard Packaging Alliance. The competition is part of the annual international Pack Expo, a conference for packaging and processing professionals.

Mendoza and Gibson were part of a project team that worked weekly on the design over the past several months. They used a kraft, non-bleached paperboard (a type of multi-ply paper processing) for strength and sustainability.

“The project required that we create a package design that was marketable, something the consumers would reuse for storage and sustainable,” says Gibson, of Auburn, IN. “We decided that we wanted our design to stand out on the shelf, but we also wanted it to take up little space when the consumer stored it. So, we created a package that would convert from a 3-D, triangular design to a small simple DVD booklet.”

The students also received input from faculty advisors as well as local professionals in the packaging field. “We were open to ideas and to people who gave us information and advice. We took this all into account and used it,” says Mendoza, who is currently on co-op at GlaxoSmithKline, a global healthcare products organization in Raleigh, N.C.

Winning teams receive monetary awards that are divided among members. Additional prize money is given to the college’s packaging program. All entries are judged by industry professionals for convenient packaging, ease of use, and how the package can be used in both display and storage options.

“It is wonderful that the student team was acknowledged nationally for their efforts to develop sustainable paperboard packaging innovation based upon the criteria of the competition,” says Karen Proctor, professor of packaging science. “The students utilized their creative talents and the RIT Packaging Science resources including faculty, Bill Wynkoop, structural design software, ESKO’s ArtiosCad, and the packaging science labs to develop this prototype.”