The Enactus 2020 National Competition brought together student, academic and business leaders from across the United States to highlight the business start-ups and projects created by teams of college and university students. Using the power of entrepreneurial action, each team aimed to tackle challenges in their community by developing and implementing environmentally sustainable projects.
In this year’s national competition, held virtually from May 6 through May 14, the University of Nevada, Reno’s Enactus team, part of the College of Business, entered the inaugural Enactus Early Stage Competition, which is designed for projects still in the planning stage. After submitting a short video about their project and answering a live Q&A session with a panel of judges via Zoom, the University’s Enactus team took first place in their league with their start-up “Uni-Cycle.”
“Our project focuses on recycling plastic and turning the recycled plastic into reusable goods,” Stallar Lufrano-Jardine, the University’s Enactus faculty advisor, said. “Not only do we remove plastic waste but the goods we will create can eliminate the need to purchase single use plastic.”
Uni-Cycle intends to act as a recycling center, a materials recovery facility and a production facility in order to convert post-consumer plastic into commercially viable products. For example, the start-up plans to collect and recycle plastic waste found across the University, (e.g. the Joe Crowley Student Union), as well as local Reno businesses, and transform the plastic materials into environmentally friendly products.
“The goal is to modify universities and business hubs with small- to medium-sized recycling and product production facilities to reduce waste and increase production capability” Matt Hawn, an Enactus student member, said. “This modification will ensure higher recycling rates of different plastic materials and establish their re-entry as recycled consumer goods into the local and national economy.”
Competitions like Enactus give students the opportunity to gain valuable real-life business experiences. Throughout the competition, students were able to experiment with innovative business techniques and had the chance to gain advice and feedback from business professionals. Additionally, the competition encouraged students to think outside of the box and create effective, efficient and sustainable business models.
“Enactus is important because it has allowed me to gain valuable business experiences outside of the classroom, make new connections with professionals all across the United States, work alongside wonderfully dedicated and intelligent peers and represent the University on a national stage,” Luc Maccioni, the Enactus club president, said.
The University’s Enactus team has received funding from the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, the College of Business Alumni Association and through a grant with Unilever. With this funding, the Enactus team plans to continue to develop and implement “Uni-Cycle,” as well as create other sustainable action-based projects in the future.
“Our club brings students together from all over campus to find entrepreneurial ways to positively contribute to the environment,” Lufrano-Jardine said. “As we can see with the rising effects of the global pandemic, climate change brings the same level of uncertainty to communities all over the world. Enactus, as a global organization, supports students trying to make the world a more sustainable place.”
Students interested in learning more about the University’s Enactus club can reach out to email@example.com.