UC Team Wins Bronze at Acara Competition

Four University of Cincinnati students won the bronze at the Acara Challenge in Minnesota on February 3, advancing the team to the final round in India this summer. They were awarded two paid scholarships, as well as up to $1,000 in matching funds to attend the final round.

Team members Mark Schutte, CEAS ’13, civil engineering with a minor in sustainability; Carmen Ostermann, DAAP ’15, fine arts; Morgen Schroeder, CEAS ’13, civil engineering; and Autumn Utley, BBA ’13, marketing and international business minor and a Lindner Honors-PLUS scholar; impressed judges with their idea on recycling trash in the global challenge.

The UC team presented the “Renew Trash Compactor,” a new product and service that reduces trash, increases recycling, improves sanitation and generates income for the Padli Gujar village in India as part of a global solution to the country’s environmental concern on trash.

The group will present their sustainable design idea this summer at the University of Minnesota Acara Summer Institute in Bangalore, India, where they will meet with India’s top entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to get aid in further developing their business plans and secure funding for their project.

The competition is organized by the Acara Institute and administered by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment. The group’s mission is to mold students into a new generation of leaders by providing them with insight into global issues and how to influence change.

The environmental challenge given to students came through “Take The Challenge for Sustainable Design and Development,” a multidisciplinary course offered as part of a University Honors Program at UC. The course is taught by Rajan Kamath, associate professor of management, and Ratee Apana, associate professor-educator of management/international business.

For more information on Acara Challenge, visit:


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