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Student's Social Entrepreneurship Showcase Success Supports Ferris State Rubber Group

Anthony TrossA Ferris State University Rubber Engineering Technology student turned his poster presentation research into a resource in support of a registered student organization that resumes operations after several years of inactivity.

Anthony Tross, a College of Engineering Technology senior from Grand Rapids, was among 13 finalists in the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge. He earned a $1,000 Tire Track Moonshot award at the Global Finals for this competition on Saturday, June 15 at the University of San Diego, in California.

Tross’ “Plastic Solutions” entry was one of three submissions that received awards in the Tire Recycling Innovation category, sponsored by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, or CalRecyle.

“My proposal could produce a more sustainable rubber product by using formerly molded tire materials as a component in the new product,” Tross said. “Ultimately, these materials would be tested for their capabilities in new compounds, for certain groups of products.”

Rubber and Plastics Assistant Professor Marc Guske, from the School of Design and Manufacturing, said that challenge organizers petitioned for a Ferris entry because of the academic program’s reputation in tire recycling initiatives.

“We were given the opportunity to make a submission in the challenge at no charge,” Guske said. “The rubber products industry is keen to encourage resource recovery concepts. So, Anthony’s poster presentation served well in this regard. The intention was to offer a practical use of what students strive for in our program’s Compounding course and independent study applications. It will also be a useful entry in the American Chemical Society’s International Elastomer Conference this October in Cleveland.”

An 18-judge panel considered Tross’ recorded pitch for support in this social venture competition. Tross said that the $1,000 award goes to the Ferris State Rubber Group, a registered student organization that had resumed activities in the last year.

“These funds will be very beneficial to our RSO,” Tross said. “This was a big help in a time of need. Now the hope is to increase the group’s membership.”

The Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge celebrated its ninth year with this June event, the finals program was held in the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice Theatre on the University of San Diego campus. More than 40 finalist student teams from 26 participating universities made proposals on viable business plans to offer remedies for social or environmental issues.