Student solid waste design competition secures major supporter

Hickman Endowment will support the National Solid Waste Design Competition, a program of SWANA’s Young Professionals Initiative.

June 1, 2016
Recycling Today Staff
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The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Silver Spring, Maryland, has announced Hickman Endowment, a 20-year-old program that supports college students in real-world research and operations projects, will be a major supporter of the National Solid Waste Design Competition, a program of SWANA’s Young Professionals (YP) Initiative.

The National Solid Waste Design Competition is a university-level student team competition to solve real-world problems faced by solid waste professionals. The first competition in August 2015 drew four teams and students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology took the top honors, according to SWANA. Five teams have signed up for the 2016 competition with presentations and judging to occur at Wastecon 2016, which is scheduled for Aug. 22-25, in Indianapolis. The deadline for participating was April 15.

The Hickman Endowment will contribute up to $5,000 toward prizes for the 2016 Solid Waste Design Competition. In future years, the Endowment has committed to contribute up to 7 percent per year of its balance toward the competition.

“The field of solid waste management continues to offer challenging, life-long careers for young people interested in engineering, the sciences, the environment and public policy,” says H. Lanier (Lanny) Hickman Jr., SWANA’s first executive director (1978 to 1996). “Like the Hickman Internship Program, the Solid Waste Design Competition gives top university students the opportunity to experience that for themselves. It can’t help but interest them in the field and their career possibilities.”

The Hickman Endowment also will make available tuition assistance of $2,500 each for two competitors selected from all participating teams in return for completing a professor-supervised, for credit, research project on a topic related to preventing, processing or management of solid waste.

Three efforts are planned to help replenish the funds committed by the Endowment to YP Initiative programs: A voluntary donation on SWANA member forms; a donation option on SWANA’s website; and a fundraising campaign among SWANA chapters and past presidents.

Members of SWANA’s YP Initiative say they are pleased by the financial commitment and appreciate the opportunity to gain support from long-time SWANA members like the past presidents.

“The YP Initiative Steering Committee could not be more pleased with the partnership and support of the Hickman Endowment,” says Nathan Mayer, a steering committee member who works for the Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County as well as oversees the competition. “Our goal is to introduce YPs to solid waste management by attracting more universities and more students to the competition, which hopefully encourages them to make a career of it.”

For more information about SWANA’s YP Initiative and the Solid Waste Design Competition, visit

SWANA is an organization of more than 8,400 public and private sector professionals committed to advancing from solid waste management to resource management through their shared emphasis on education, advocacy and research. For more than 50 years, SWANA has been a leading association in the solid waste management field. SWANA serves industry professionals through technical conferences, certifications, publications and a large offering of technical training courses.