Pollution Prevention Institute Announces Winners of Student Competition

Clarkson, RIT and University at Buffalo among top three teams

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New York State Pollution Prevention Institute at Rochester Institute of Technology has announced the winners of its first “Greening Your Campus” student competition.

A team from Clarkson University, which includes students Jeannie Piekarz, David Illig, Gregory Mesagna, Roy Berger, and faculty/staff advisor Professor Thomas Ortmeyer, took first place with its project titled “Dormitory Motion Sensor Lighting.” The project aimed at reducing lighting use in the dorm hallways using motion sensors. The students projected energy and cost savings to be around $600,000 per year with a three-to-five year payback on the investment.

A team from RIT took second place with its project titled “Saving the Environment and Money with Natural Gas.” Students Steven Barber, Nikhil Kale, Ayham Haddad and faculty/staff advisor Chance Glenn addressed reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from RIT’s electricity use by building an alternative energy model.

Third place was awarded to University at Buffalo for its project titled “Plastics: Start the Ripple of Sustainability.” The project, led by students Rebecca Hensel, Allyson Zurawski, Chad Colwell and faculty/staff advisor James Jensen, aimed at reducing the use and disposal of plastic water bottles on campus.

“We were very impressed with the enthusiasm of the students as they presented on their project concepts,” says Anahita Williamson, director of NYSP2I. “The competition was very close. All of the students did a great job of identifying and addressing issues of sustainability on their campus.”

As part of its Research and Development Program, the Pollution Prevention Institute had developed a student competition in which teams must identify a specific activity at their university with a large environmental footprint and define a solution for lowering the impact.

The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute is a partnership between RIT, Clarkson University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University at Buffalo and is funded by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The institute works to make New York more sustainable by assisting companies in reducing toxic chemical use, solid and hazardous waste generation and overall emissions to the environment. It also encourages industry to efficiently and effectively utilize raw materials, energy and water. For more information, go to www.rit.edu/affiliate/nysp2i.