Students to compete in International Environmental Design Contest

University and high school students from throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico will participate in the 17th Annual International Environmental Design Contest (EDC) April 1-4 at New Mexico State University.

The EDC is hosted by WERC: A Consortium for Environmental Education and Technology Development. WERC is one of three centers in the NMSU College of Engineering that make up the Institute for Energy and the Environment (IEE), which uses an interdisciplinary research agenda to address environmental sustainability.

Five NMSU students will be competing in this year’s design contest, led by Martha Mitchell, chemical engineering department head. Chemical engineering students Colette Barnard, Aaron Garcia, Trevor Jones, Veronica Madewell and Sam Waite will tackle Task 4: Conversion of Biomass Resource to Useful Forms of Energy and Other Products.

This year’s design challenges revolve around renewable energy sources and water, its viability and availability.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., will be one of the featured speakers at the Wednesday April 4, Awards Banquet in the Corbett Center Ballroom. U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., secured a $4.2 million endowment for WERC in February. As leaders of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, New Mexico’s senators have been supporters of IEE and WERC.

EDC teams, typically four to six students, compete in a variety of tasks based on real-world environmental challenges. The tasks are designed to give students the opportunity to create and develop new and innovative technologies while gaining experience with environmental problems.

Participating in this year’s contest are 34 university teams from the United States, Mexico, Canada and Hungary, in addition to 25 teams that will participate in a separate concurrent high school competition. Teams will compete in seven different tasks for cash prizes, trophies, and worldwide recognition.

The public is welcome and encouraged to attend the contest on Tuesday, April 3, in the Pan American Center on the Las Cruces campus. Admission is free. This year’s design contest will be the largest since the competition began in 1990.

In addition to WERC, IEE partners are the Southwest Technology Development Institute, a renewable energy research and development group, and the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center, a nuclear waste-management and monitoring center.

For more information, contact IEE Director Abbas Ghassemi at (505) 646-2038 or visit or

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