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Contest gives students chance to show how to reduce electronic waste
1/4/2011 | Sharita Forrest, Arts Editor | 217-244-1072; firstname.lastname@example.org
[ Email | Share ] CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — College students: Blow the dust off those once-cutting-edge phones, desktop computers and VCR players that were muscled into the back of the closet by their smarter and slicker descendants. Your outdated electronic components – spruced up with a bit of ingenuity – may still have productive lives ahead, reducing electronic waste and helping save the planet.
Electronic waste is a growing concern for environmentalists and world leaders, as about 2.25 million tons of obsolete or broken electronic products are discarded each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Creative and environmentally conscious students will have the opportunity to showcase their ideas for recycling and reducing e-waste during the International E-Waste Design Competition hosted by the School of Art and Design, a unit in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, and the Illinois Sustainability Technology Center at the University of Illinois.
The competition originated in conjunction with a class on sustainability and e-waste issues taught by William Bullock, a professor of industrial design in the School of Art and Design at the U. of I., and Willie Cade, the founder and chief executive officer of PC Rebuilders and Recyclers, a Chicago company that refurbishes computers for various non-profit organizations, including the Computers for Schools program. As in past years, students in the class will be encouraged to enter their class projects in the competition.
This is the third year of the competition, which was expanded from a campus event to an international event in 2010. A total of $20,000 in prize money will be awarded to six winning teams.
Participants will compete in either of two categories: "E-waste Prevention," which focuses on new products or services that decrease the amount of e-waste generation, or "E-waste Reuse," which focuses on recycling old e-waste components to create new, useful electronic and non-electronic products.
Participants must be 18 years or older and provide proof that they are current college students or have graduated since May 2007. The competition is open to teams and individuals, and collaboration across disciplines, backgrounds and ages is encouraged. Contestants may not participate on more than one team, although they may submit one project as an individual and another project as a member of a team.
Participants must submit original video compositions about their products to the competition website for judging. A panel of judges comprising industry leaders who represent Fortune 500 companies will select winners for the six monetary awards: a platinum award of $5,000, a gold award of $3,000 and a silver award of $1,000 in each category. Honorary mention awards may be given at the judges' discretion.
The 2011 jury is being assembled and will include Vicki Matranga, design program coordinator for the International Housewares Association; Clive Roux, chief executive officer of the Industrial Designers Society of America; Bill Olson, director of the Office of Sustainability and Stewardship, Motorola Mobile Devices; and Ki-chol Nam, a professor in the department of industrial design, Yeungnam University, South Korea. Additional jurors will be announced on the competition’s website.
The 20 finalists will be announced April 15 on the competition website. Finalists in the video competition will be screened at the International E-Waste Video Festival on a date to be announced and publicized through the Sustainable Electronics Initiative website; the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center website, YouTube and other media.
Finalists are highly encouraged to introduce their videos to the audience and jury at the video festival.
Dell Computer and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are sponsoring the competition, as they did the 2010 competition.
The 2010 competition drew 33 entries from across the U.S., Australia, South Korea and Turkey that competed for $19,000 in prize money. Last year's first-prize winners were an outdoor, self-watering urban garden created from an old refrigerator designed by a team of U. of I. students, and a cell phone that users could recharge by spinning the device around their fingers, developed by a team from the Rochester Institute of Technology, New York.
"The University of Illinois, along with other institutions of higher learning around the world, are home to the students who represent the future of industrial design and engineering, marketing and business, arts and design and other areas," Bullock said. "This competition gives them the challenge of doing something positive and showing how they can design to extend the life of electronics and create new uses for electronic waste."
The competition and the industrial design e-waste course that Bullock teaches are educational components of the Sustainable Electronics Initiative, a consortium of leaders in the public and private sectors dedicated to developing sustainable designs and production, remanufacturing and recycling practices for electronic devices.
Registration for the competition is free and opens Jan 4. Participants must submit their video entries by 4:59 p.m. CST on April 1.
Details about registration, submitting entries and judging criteria are available on the competition website. Questions can be directed to Bullock at email@example.com or 217-265-0873, or to Joy Scrogum, an information specialist at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center: firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-333-8940.