Innovation Weekend

April 2019

April 12-14, 2019
Student Success Center

Topic: Plastic Contamination of Oceans and Waterways

Plastic contamination of the oceans and open waterways is a global crisis.  Estimates range from 8-12 million metric tons of plastic waste entering the oceans each year, and that number is continuing to rise annually.  Indeed, by 2050, it has been estimated that the mass of all the plastic waste in the oceans will surpass the total biomass of these bodies of water.  If left unabated, the problem will continue to grow for much of this century, with a myriad of effects on humans and all of the organisms that call the oceans and other open waters home.  We need to quickly identify ways to clean up existing waste, prevent additional plastics from entering the environment, and come up with safe disposal methods for existing plastic debris and recovered waste.

Students will work in groups to identify potential solutions to this problem and design strategies forward. The event will be supervised by representatives from the university, and not-for-profit agencies. We are looking for students from across campus with an interest in design, application, and marketing to identify better ways to solve one or more of the above.

Although the primary focus may be on military applications, recognize that groups interested in targeting natural (or man-made) disasters or accident situations can work on applications in those arenas–or even propose new applications not previously considered!

Come with a group of colleagues, or come alone. We want to engage you in innovative thought processes, discussions of cutting-edge technology, and the need for entrepreneurial approaches to solving real-world problems.


The primary sponsors for this event were Drs.Thomas D. and Jacquelyn Reed.