Coming Feb. 2- 5, 2017, to NC State. Your solutions are needed to make a more sustainable world. During this four-day challenge, your team will research, design, prototype and build a new solution that addresses a sustainability challenge. On the last day, community and industry sustainability experts will evaluate solutions and award prizes to the top teams in each category, as well as a grand prize to the overall winner.

Registration is now closed. 


Grand Prize

Each member of the winning team receives a Desktop 3-D Printer and Starter Kit. The team also wins a consulting session with Aly Khalifa, NC State’s social entrepreneur in residence, and a gift certificates for free fabric poster printing from Spoonflower.



2nd Place

Each member of the team receives a SparkFun Tinker Kit, a $100 Shapeways 3D printing credit and a gift certificate to Spoonflower.


Built on Cloud Prize

IBM has donated $1,000 cash to best cognitive cloud solution that utilizes Bluemix.


Fusion 360

Autodesk has donated Space Mouse and digital caliper for each member of team that best utilizes Fusion 360 design software.


Social Media Prize

We’ve pulled together a smartphone bundle of cool prizes for the team that best documents their design journey through use of #ncsumakeathon on social media.

Event Schedule (tentative)

We know you are busy and getting all teammates together the entire weekend can be a bit…impossible. So, it’s recommended that at least one person from the team attend most events, but for the most part, everything is optional. Obviously, the more you participate, the better experience you’ll have. In order for your solution to be judged, the majority of your team must be present for judging on Sunday. 

Thursday, Feb. 2

6 – 8 p.m. – Make-a-thon Kickoff (Hunt Library Duke Energy Hall). The road to a winning design starts here. While you enjoy dinner, Eric Henry (CEO of TS Designs) will inspire you with his sustainability journey, Jeff Smith of Autodesk will give you a brief what-you-need-to-know about design thinking, and we’ll have details you need to win Make-a-thon. This is where your team will receive a free t-shirt, reusable water bottle and “maker kits” for the weekend.

Friday, Feb. 3

10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Optional: Skills Workshops and Sustainability Expert Sessions (Hunt Library). We’ll have the experts on hand to teach new skills and share data-driven insights designed to help you create an awesome Make-a-thon project (schedule coming soon)

Saturday, Feb. 4

1 – 10 p.m. – Build Day (D.H. Hill Library). We’ll have mentors, food and snacks — the perfect recipe for a winning Make-a-thon project!

Sunday, Feb. 5

Noon – 4 p.m. – Pitching, Judging and Prizes (Hunt Library). You’ve put in a lot of work; now’s the time to show off to industry-leading judges. Come for lunch and then pitch your project. May the best team win!

Make-A-Thon Impact

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

Watch Short Pitch From All 2016 Projects

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

Students Speak

“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.”
 Read more about the 2016 Make-a-thon or browse the Storify post