Make-A-Thon Revealed: Top 5 Things to Know

Make-a-thon is NC State’s annual sustainability innovation competition. During this three-day challenge, student teams research, design, prototype and present a solution that addresses a sustainability challenge. On the last day, community and industry experts evaluate the solutions and award over $7,000 in prize money to top teams. 

Here are the top 5 things you should know about NC State Make-a-thon:

1. Make-A-Thon is for All Students

Make-A-Thon is open to all current NC State undergraduate and graduate students. Students can register as an individual, partial team (2-3 students) or a complete team (3-4 students). Students will compete in Make-A-Thon as a team consisting of 3-4 members. At least two members of each team must represent separate colleges within NC State.

Make-A-Thon staff will help individuals and partial teams find additional members to compete. Students can also utilize the Make-A-Thon Slack channel to find additional members.

2. Make-A-Thon is for All Majors

Students representing all majors and interests are encouraged to apply to Make-A-Thon. These diverse perspectives and skills will enable unique solutions to sustainability challenges. Artists, agriculturalists, designers, educators, engineers, conservationists, athletes, scientists, musicians, coders, writers, humanists, makers, marketers, managers, activists and more should register for Make-A-Thon.

3. A Think and Do Attitude is All You Need

A true interdisciplinary event, Make-A-Thon brings together students from all backgrounds and skills. All you need to bring is a Think and Do attitude!  Make-A-Thon has training sessions and mentors/experts on site to assist teams with their solutions. Makerspace staff are also available to assist with technical questions and equipment. Bring whatever skills you have. Collaboration will take care of the rest.

4. Your Time is Yours

Make-A-Thon is NOT a lock-in event. While it does span 3 days, teams can decide to stay and leave as they see fit…though most find it more fun to participate in the entire event!

Make-A-Thon gives students real-world experience in project management, which includes both collaborating together and delegating tasks. There are only 2 required in-person Make-A-Thon events: Team Check-In/Kick-off on Friday and Team Check-in/Presentations on Sunday.

5. Benefits Beyond $7,000+

Yes, Make-A-Thon does have cash prizes for winning teams: $4,000 for first place, $2,000 for second place and $1,000 for third place. Prizes will also be given for the best prototype, best integration of social responsibility and a judges’ choice award. However, the benefits for participating go beyond the money. Here are some potential advantages for students:

  • Networking Opportunities: Students can connect with industry professionals over the weekend, as these experts are invited to both mentor and judge during the competition
  • Hands-On Learning: Students can apply classroom knowledge and gain practical experience by designing and prototyping solutions. 
  • Resume Enhancement: Make-A-Thon demonstrates a students’ ability to work on cross-disciplinary teams, solve complex problems and innovate.
  • Real-World Impact: Make-A-Thon has been a catalyst for students to transform their ideas into reality and see their solutions implemented on campus and/or jumpstart their careers as entrepreneurs.

Students can register now for Make-a-thon, which is scheduled for Jan. 26-28, 2024 on Centennial Campus. To learn more and register, visit