Feature

Enactus Mount Allison receives honours at national conference, funding for multiple projects

19 Jul 2021
Society’s Enviroot project aims to produce sustainable building materials derived from orange peels

SACKVILLE, NB – A group of student researchers and entrepreneurs at Mount Allison University are working to produce a sustainable, environmentally-friendly alternative for common building materials, starting with a common breakfast item — oranges.

Enviroot, an Enactus project based at Mount Allison is using orange peels, discarded from the University’s Dining Hall, to develop an environmentally-friendly alternative to fibre boards, currently used in  many building materials including particle boards, and bulletin boards. Their project is receiving national attention and accolades.

“I became involved with Enactus because I wanted to work with people who are equally passionate about the environment and making change in their communities as I am. I have volunteered with Enviroot since my first year, I started out as a research assistant on the project,” says Padmapriya (Padma) Srinivasan, project manager for Enviroot and fourth-year honours chemistry student. “It’s very exciting to see the project advance and the potential impact for these sustainable products.”

Srinivasan was recently recognized at the national Enactus competition, being named Project Manager of the Year for her work with Enviroot.

She has taken on the award-winning project in addition to her full-time studies and honours research, with the guidance of project advisor and Mount Allison University chemistry professor Dr. Andrew Grant.

“Enviroot’s research program and the students’ enthusiasm around the project are exemplary,” says Grant. “I have continuously been impressed with Padma and her team’s commitment to learning and working to develop sustainable materials. I congratulate her on this well-deserved award from Enactus.”

The project has enabled three part-time positions for student researchers with plans to expand the team with a project intern. The Enviroot team also received a $1,100 faculty grant from Enactus Canada to help support the research.

The team is currently working towards testing products (particle boards) on campus this year and hopes to share the same with the local community. Researchers are also working on a recipe for a glue alternative, which is still in development.

In addition to Srinivasan’s honours at the 2021 conference, Enactus Mount Allison received the Most Improved Team award at the national conference and advanced to the semi-final stage of the competition, the only post-secondary institution in New Brunswick to do so. Former student society president, Lopsii Olagoke was one 1 of 25 students in Canada to receive the John Dobson Founders Bursary worth $2,500 for outstanding leadership.

Founded in 2016, Enactus Mount Allison is a student society focused on supporting social, environmental, and economic community initiatives through entrepreneurial action. The society has also received support for their Textbook Osmosis project, recycling and repurposing textbooks for students, with a $2,500 grant from Northbridge Financial.

While the society’s network has been largely virtual over the past year due to the pandemic, their campus projects have continued to grow. Membership doubled at the Mount Allison chapter in 2020-21 with students joining from across academic disciplines and programs. Learn more about Enactus Mount Allison projects at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Z3_o39fG1Y

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