Earth Day Pollution Prevention Contest To Be Held at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Photo Credit: Laura Nelson


Media Relations

April 17, 2015

Earth Day Pollution Prevention Contest To Be Held at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Twelve student teams from eight colleges and universities across New York state will present their solution to an environmental problem within their community at the fourth annual New York State Pollution Prevention Institute Research and Development Student Competition on April 22 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

The competition, to be held in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS), begins at 9 a.m. with a welcome that includes remarks from Joseph Martens, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. An exhibition, to be held from 9:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., will feature the competing teams, as well as posters from more than 100 K-12 students, on display in the first and second-floor atrium of the CBIS.

A panel of judges, including Rensselaer graduates Gavin McIntyre, co-founder and chief scientist of Ecovative Design, and Anasha Cummings, initiator at Transition Troy, will announce winners by 1 p.m. The competition is sponsored by the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) at Rochester Institute of Technology.

As part of its Research and Development Program, NYSP2I challenged teams of full-time students enrolled at any institute of higher education in New York state to identify a specific activity at their university or in their community with a large environmental footprint. Teams were then required to propose innovative solutions to reduce its impact. Schools are competing under the theme “Greenovate NYS” by undergraduate or graduate level.

Competing teams were announced in January, with each team receiving up to $1,000 for materials to develop their idea. The teams come from Rochester Institute of Technology, Rensselaer, the State University of New York College at Brockport, Clarkson University, Siena College, Syracuse University, St. Lawrence University, and the University at Buffalo. To learn more about the proposal that will be on exhibit, visit the January news release which announced the competitors.

Each first-place team will receive $1,500 to share among team members; the second-place school will receive $750; and third place $250, as well as a trophy commemorating the award. Prizes are made possible through donations by sponsors, including Baldwin Richardson Foods, New Pig Corporation, Golisano Institute for Sustainability (RIT), Markin Tubing, NOCO Energy Corporation, Counterparts Chemistry Consulting, International Paper, Risch, Rochester Midland Corporation and Full Circle Feed. Additional funding for the competition was provided by the New York state DEC. Wegmans provided prizes for the K-12 student poster competition.

The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute is a partnership between the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Rochester Institute of Technology and its Golisano Institute for Sustainability, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University at Buffalo, and Clarkson University, with a statewide reach. NYSP2I’s goal is to make the state more sustainable for workers, the public, the environment, and the economy through pollution prevention. Pollution prevention is reducing or eliminating waste at the source by modifying production processes, promoting the use of non-toxic or less-toxic substances, implementing conservation techniques, and reusing materials rather than putting them into the waste stream.


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About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, over 30 research centers, more than 140 academic programs including 25 new programs, and a dynamic community made up of over 6,800 students and 104,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include upwards of 155 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit