A student team from the University of Cincinnati won the EcoEasy Challenge top prize for their EcoEasy Button concept, an evolution in surge protector design that is made of environmentally preferable materials, winning $25,000 and royalties should their concept be brought to market.
The Staples Global EcoEasy Challenge attracted 86 entries from 27 student teams studying at 15 universities in eight countries. The goal was to find the most innovative concepts for office products that promote sustainability or use environmentally preferable materials.
University of Cincinnati Silver Monkey team members Brandon Leedy, Alex Pellegrino, Kyle Koch and James Matchett presented their EcoEasy Button yesterday to the judges. The EcoEasy Button is an evolution in surge protector design made of environmentally preferable materials, and can be placed on the user's desk for easy access. It also alerts users when their devices have been draining energy for extended periods of time.
"All of the students, who came from around the world and represented their schools so well, give Staples and its partners in sustainability great hope for the future," said Mark Buckley, vice president of environmental affairs, Staples. "Their fresh ideas and innovative spirit are an inspiration to us at Staples, our environmentally conscious customers and the greater business community."
"Young, smart, ambitious students are often the creative core of inventive ideas that spark simple solutions, such as the EcoEasy Button, for the office or for complex problems outside of it," said Dr. Nabil Nasr, assistant provost and director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at RIT. "We learn from the students who participate in the challenge as much as they receive an education from being a part of it."
In addition, University of Cincinnati Silver Monkey's Folio concept was also selected as a runner-up in the challenge. Each of the teams will receive the runner-up prize of $5,000 and royalties should their concept be brought to market.