Student solutions are needed to make a more sustainable world. During this four-day challenge, student teams research, design, prototype and build a new solution that addresses a sustainability challenge. On the last day, community and industry sustainability experts evaluate solutions and award prizes to the top teams in each category, as well as a grand prize to the overall winner.
2017 Make-a-thon Winners
The winning idea is for a bike-share program that uses existing campus bicycles and infrastructure.
Each member of the winning team received a Desktop 3-D Printer and Starter Kit. The team also won a consulting session with Aly Khalifa, NC State’s social entrepreneur in residence, and gift certificates for free fabric poster printing from Spoonflower.
The winning idea is a app-based surge protector for outlets that results in reduced phantom load.
Each member of the team received a SparkFun Tinker Kit, a $100 Shapeways 3D printing credit and a gift certificate to Spoonflower.
Built on Cloud Prize
The winning idea is a trash can attachment that notifies a user if a recyclable item is thrown away.
IBM donated $1,000 cash to best cognitive cloud solution that utilizes Bluemix.
The winning idea is a modification to residence hall trash chutes that will accommodate recycling.
Autodesk donated Space Mouse and digital caliper for each member of team that best utilizes Fusion 360 design software.
Social Media Prize
The winning team chronicled the development of a water-saving showerhead device.
The winning team received a smartphone bundle of cool prizes for best documenting their design journey . More social media from the event
How might we more sustainably use water, energy, waste, transportation or food?
… as individuals?
… on campus?
… in our community, country or world?
What solutions can we prototype using things like…
…3D design & printing?
…the Internet of Things?
At the beginning of the Make-a-thon weekend, each team chooses a challenge theme/subject to address and narrows in on a specific scale such as individual, campus or community. For example, a team might choose to create a solution that helps individuals reduce personal water use or that helps the community incorporate more sustainable food practices.
Corporate and Community Involvement
Here’s how you or your company can get involved in future Make-a-thons.
Be A Sponsor
Sponsors make Make-a-thon possible. Make-a-thon sponsorships are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law. Make-a-thon is a program of North Carolina State University, a 501(c)(3) organization. Contact us for more information about sponsorship of the 2018 event.
Be A Mentor
Mentors engage directly with participants, guiding students to create the best possible solutions. You can sign up as a representative from your company or organization or as an individual who loves the idea of giving back and helping students Think and Do. Contact us for more information about being a mentor at the 2018 event.
Be A Judge
Make-a-thon judges have the reward of hearing and seeing the outcome of student projects, plus the responsibility of selecting winners. Experience in sustainability, design or entrepreneurship is preferred but not necessary. Contact us for more information about judging the 2018 event.
Impact of 2016 Make-A-Thon
2016 Winning Projects
Grand Prize: KnowURShower reduces water and energy use associated with long showers
Energy: ecopen, a door mechanism that generates energy as a door is opened
Water: Coliform No More, a reclaimed water storage tank that oscillates to prevent bacterial growth and lengthen the storage life of reclaimed water
Waste: Trashr, a sensor designed to optimize dumpster trash collection routes
Best Use of Fusion 360: Step-Up Trash Compactor, which compacts trash or recycling using human power, and Internet of Things, an app that encourages sustainable behaviors
By The Numbers
78% of Make-a-thon participants have never participated in a design challenge or hack-a-thon style competition
89% of Make-a-thon participants said the experience exposed them to new tools and technologies
100% of students said Make-a-thon taught them about campus sustainability issues
100% of students said Make-a-thon gave them experience working in an interdisciplinary, collaborative team environment
“Make-a-thon helped us think about a problem, and we were able to make this and could go patent it.”
“Going through a brainstorming process as a team and having a final product at the end is a really valuable asset.”
“This event was amazing.”
“The idea of my project having the ability to transform campus is huge.”
FAQ’s About Make-A-Thon
Who can participate?
Make-A-Thon is open to any NC State student. Participants will be on three- or four-person teams. Students form their own teams. If you need help finding teammates, a Slack Channel has been created to help participants connect with others looking for teammates. Please use Slack (how to use Slack) or other means to form your team before registering for Make-a-thon. Registration dates for the 2018 event will be announced in fall 2017.
What skills do I have to have to participate?
A think and do attitude is all that’s required. A true interdisciplinary event, Make-A-Thon brings together students with all kinds of backgrounds and skills. Some code. Some design. Some write. These diverse perspectives and skills will enable unique solutions to campus sustainability challenges. Bring whatever skills you have. Collaboration will take care of the rest.
Do I need to stay the whole time?
No, Make-A-thon isn’t a lock-in and we know that 72 hours is a long time. If you have other commitments during the weekend, feel free to take a break from Make-A-thon. You can stay and leave as you choose, though it’s more fun if most participants participate in most of the event. The big takeaway is this: don’t not sign up for Make-A-thon just because you can’t be there the entire weekend. Talk with your team, divide up responsibilities accordingly and figure out how to carry each other’s loads. It’s good real-world experience. One big request is that at least half of your team be present for Sunday afternoon judging and awards. A lot of planning goes into making this event a reality, and Sunday afternoon is the culmination of a lot of hard work. We want you to be there to be part of the celebration of your creativity.
Are there prizes?
Why, of course! Our website will be updated with prizes as they are determined.
I’m not a coder or a designer. Will that matter?
You don’t have to be a coder or a master of all things technology. It’s likely that someone else on your team may have skills in that area. Plus, we’ll have training sessions and mentors/experts around to help you.
Will there be free food?
Of course! Free food and snacks are on us.
What’s the event entail? Do you have an event schedule?
Here’s what the 2017 competition was like: Make-A-Thon begins on Thursday evening. We’ll have dinner, an inspiring speaker, more details about event logistics, etc. On Friday, you have the opportunity to talk with subject mater experts and experts in tools/techniques/resources that might be helpful for your solution-making. From there, you’ll be off and running to develop your sustainability solution with your team. On Saturday, we’ll block off a huge part of D.H. Hill just for Make-a-thon teams to collaborate, connect with mentors and fuel up with snacks and dinner. You have until Sunday morning to submit your solution for judging. Our panel of industry leaders and other experts will begin combing over proposals beginning after noon on Sunday. You’ll have the opportunity to pitch your ideas to judges and answer questions. By mid-afternoon, we’ll announce the winning teams and start awarding prizes.
How do I sign up?
Online registration dates will be announced in fall 2017.
Do I have to register as an individual or a team?
You register as a team. Teams must consist of three or four people, and at least two of those people must be from separate colleges within NC State. If you already have a team formed, you will be able to register as a team. If you have a partial team formed (for example, you and your roommate) or it’s just you, no worries. We’ve set up a channel on Slack (how to use Slack) so that you can find others looking for teammates.
What do I need to bring?
A laptop is suggested but not required. A reusable bottle will help us reduce event waste, so if you have one, toss it in your backpack as well.