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Student jamboree guides budding engineers

Student jamboree guides budding engineers


Packaging curriculums can be vastly different depending on which school you attend. Many students from across the country discovered this when they joined together for the 26th Annual Student Packaging Jamboree in early April.


The University of Wisconsin-Stout hosted this year's Packaging Jamboree, an annual conference organized by students. Jamboree is an opportunity to bring both students and members of industry onto campus to find out what life is like as a packaging student. This year's conference featured eight speakers from industry with a slew of activities throughout the three-day event. Packaging students from across the country traveled to Menomonie, WI, where they shared experiences in tours, activities and presentations.


The theme for this year's Student Packaging Jamboree was "Destination: Innovation." Speakers targeted topics relating to the future of the industry, and speculated on what professionals can expect to change in the years to come. The packaging industry is constantly changing and expanding. With students soon entering the workforce, it is their responsibility to stay current with industry, and attending conferences and hearing from experienced industry speakers provides an opportunity to learn about developing trends.

 

Packaging JamboreeSpeakers addressed topics from all areas of the packaging industry including medical, sustainability, adhesives, printing and testing. The national Institute of Packaging Professionals president, Tyler Pease, spoke about the benefits of building a professional network early on. As an engineer, each person has his or her own specialty. When faced with a problem or posed with a question, it is helpful to be able to rely on a friend in the network. Packaging is a diverse industry, often overlooked. Nevertheless, the community is tightly knit. This sense of community is apparent when attending any given trade show; it is a reunion of classmates, coworkers and friends.


Students gained insight into each other's programs through activities such as a pizza social, lab and campus tours, and even an egg drop competition. In this competition, students were given a selection of various materials to create a protective package around two eggs that would be dropped from a stairwell. In the end, eggs in two designs survived the drop. These designs used paperboard and fishing line to create a parachute attached to a corrugated basket. The contest provided an opportunity for students from great distances to work and learn together, manifesting their creativity and design experience to solve problems as a team-a lesson of how things work in the real world.


"What's weird is that we've never met each other before, but as packaging students we already have so much in common" says Michigan State student and Jamboree attendee, Doug Merian.


Getting students working together is only the start of the diverse industry connections that are made throughout a career. Attending trade shows and events such as Jamboree will bring forward the leading edge of innovation, where graduates will be representing companies, driving trends and making important decisions. It is what we learn from each other today that can build a better tomorrow.


The author, Cody Stanton, is a junior in the UW-Stout Packaging Program. He is the president of the university's student IoPP chapter and a leader in other roles on campus. He has two upcoming internships at Ecolab and PepsiCo/Quaker and plans to graduate in December 2012.

 

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