Students ‘upcycle’ trash into treasure at NMSU’s Innoventure competition

April 27, 2015 by Amanda Bradford, NMSU News Center

Middle- and high-school sudents from across New Mexico will show what they’ve learned about “upcycling” this academic year during the 12th annual Innoventure student competition, hosted by Arrowhead Center on Friday, May 1, at the Corbett Center Student Union on the New Mexico State University campus.

Roughly 200 students participated in the program throughout the school year, and 125 of those will compete in the May 1 judging event. The teams of two to five students each began working on their projects last fall with a $50 budget and a directive to solve everyday problems using science, technology, engineering and math to upcycle products that would normally be thrown away into a new, marketable product.

“We’re consistently impressed with the ideas New Mexico’s students are generating,” said Marie Borchert, education specialist for the Entrepreneurship Institute at Arrowhead Center. “It’s always amazing to see the culmination of months of work that has gone into their projects.”

This year’s upcycling theme is not “recycling” in the strict sense of the word, as students are not using heat or chemical technology to break down the products. The upcycling process gives the students the opportunity to create something new out of what is usually considered trash and develop a market for it.

Borchert said the Innoventure competition is a window to the future of invention and entrepreneurship in New Mexico.

First place winners at the middle- and high-school level will receive a touch-screen laptop. Additionally, students who win in the high school category will receive a $350 scholarship to NMSU. Borchert said several previous winners have taken advantage of that scholarship to enroll at NMSU and continue exploring their ideas with support of Arrowhead Center’s Studio G student business incubator.

Innoventure is supported by Arrowhead Center, NMSU’s entrepreneurship incubator, and by $10,000 grants from both AT&T and the MS Doss Foundation and a $7,500 gift from Wells Fargo. The event is also sponsored by the Marriott Springhill Suites and FirstLight Federal Credit Union.

“These sponsors have really helped us make this program something students return to year after year,” Borchert said. “We’re able to reach more and more students in New Mexico thanks to their support.”

The public is invited to see the student showcase from 2:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. on May 1 at Corbett Center.

For more information about Innoventure, contact Marie Borchert at or 575-646-7839.

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