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Wasted Opportunities places first in Smart Campus Challenge

wasted opportunities

Wasted Opportunities was the recipient of the Ohio State Energy Partners Smart Campus Challenge which encourages students to pitch their solution to a sustainability related problem on campus.

The team, Wasted Opportunities, was formed by the two student organizations, Smart Campus and Food Recovery Network and collects food from dining halls and other food providers around campus and gives it to organizations in Columbus who share it with underserved community members. As part of winning the competition, the group will develop a technology platform to capture campus food waste data to hopefully optimize university purchasing patterns.

“Working on the food recovery project has been a tremendous opportunity,” said Danny Freudiger, president of Smart Campus and PhD student in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. “In my opinion, it hits all the areas of what a smart campus project should be. We are leveraging data and technology to improve campus sustainability, while also having a large positive impact on the community. I got into engineering to make a difference. This project allows me to take those engineering skills I learned in the classroom and through research and apply them to something meaningful to improve people’s lives.” 

The team will receive $54,000 to fund their project which they will put towards the purchase of a new GEM car and the development of their technology platform. Additionally, each team member receives $250 in cash and a trip to Paris where they will attend ENGIE’s innovation week. 

“When we bring a car full of food to people in need and we see the looks on their faces, it emphasizes the importance of our initiative and motivates us to make the process more efficient and expand our reach,” said Freudiger. “With the initial funding from winning the Smart Campus Challenge, my hope is that we will be able to scale the system and increase our community impact to help even more people.”

Ohio State Energy Partners is a partnership between ENGIE North America and Axium Infrastructure and has contracted with ENGIE Services to operate the systems that heat, cool and distribute power to Ohio State’s Columbus campus.