IPF helps students engineer a better tomorrow

Graphic of Design Day logo

May 8, 2019

IPF staff members recently helped five teams of engineering students complete and present projects for the College of Engineering’s Design Day in which the students show their capstone projects, celebrate their accomplishments and compete for awards. 

The projects included hazard detection and collision avoidance for bicyclists, optimizing campus vehicle usage, reducing the overall campus fleet vehicle carbon footprint, improving recycling processes in Materials and Logistics, and improving the efficiency of recycling collection.

Ann Erhardt (Sustainability), Jeff Groll (Materials and Logistics), Kris Jolley (Recycling), Tim Potter (Bikes) and Brian Watts (Transportation Services) helped sponsor the students’ work.

While doing our project, we learned a ton about recycling and were able to see a lot of things in person that had to do with recycling issues,” said Kristen Rose, a senior in applied engineering sciences, whose team won the 2019 Most Sustainable Award. “It helped me learn better ways to recycle and taught me about recycling items that I never knew I could.”

Tim Potter, sustainable transportation manager, has worked with the Ride of Silence Organization for 12 years and with the increase of hit and run fatal crashes with bicyclists saw a need for technology to alert bicyclists of cars approaching them. With that idea in mind, Potter was connected to the engineering students along with Stephen Blosser from the MSU Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities to create the product.

“Students were able to apply what they learned in the classroom to a real life need,” Potter said. “They helped us create something that will hopefully help save lives.”

The project won third place in the Electrical and Computer Engineering category at the Design Day competition. The team is looking into the logistics of marketing the product, and possibly adapting it as a tool for the disabled, allowing them greater awareness of their surroundings.

A different student project focused on improving Materials and Logistics recycling efforts by analyzing IPF-provided data and recommending how to become more environmentally sustainable.

They gained a general understanding of how IPF operates and the services we provide to the university,” said Jeff Groll, Materials and Logistics service manager. “They gained experience working collaboratively on a team which gave them interpersonal skills, responsibility and problem-solving experience.”