42 hours of re_creativity

Our annual interdisciplinary design/build competition challenges student teams against the problems inherent in waste, reuse, recycling, and reinvention – with projects that range from the practical to the fanciful to the abstract. Prizes from $500-$1,500 are awarded by a team of invited judges from the ranks of University faculty and staff and industry professionals.

2018 winners

Transportation Solutions: Getting Here, Going There

  • First Place: elevated solar powered walk way connecting north and central campus by Team Late Knights (Dylan Haugh-Ewald, Cameron Kabacinksi, and Addison Tharp)
  • Second Place: sidewalk slabs made with recycled materials and sustainability awareness board game by Concrete Designers (Marianna Coulentianos, Puneet Singh, Chris Pannier, Eric Harding, and Chandler Caserta)
  • Third Place: various campus transportation solutions by MBM (Jingxi Mao,Hashitha Balaji, and Hanzhang Mao) and covered outdoor retail space by ArchCity (Mingyang Xia, Xuewei Chen, Han Zhang, Haobo Hu, and Xiotang Sun)
  • Honorable Mention: therapy bus by Team Vibranium (Karen Cuenca, Priscilla Papias, and Pranavi Aradhyula)
  • Poverty Solutions Winner: short animated video suggesting that there are access issues that an on-demand, regular point-to-point bus service to rural communities might alleviate by Michigan Synthetic Biology Team (Aaron Renburg, Anna Mychalowych, Sam Bower, Angela Hsu, and Richelle Wilson). The video used humor, recycled paper animation techniques, and concise storytelling  to show how such a bussing solution might allow access to more vocational, educational, recreational  and cultural opportunities for rural residents.

2018 judges

  • Christie Donahue, Assistant Director of Program Development, Center for Socially Engaged Design
  • Ken Panko, Director, Duderstadt Center
  • Laura-Anne Wong,  Lecturer, A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning, Architectural and Urban Designer at PORT Urbanism – Chicago
  • Julia Weinert and Kate Naranjo, Poverty Solutions


2017 winners

UpstART 200: A U-M Bicentennial Project of Student and Alumni Reflection and Making

  • First Place: animated short film, Re_discover, by Team Hermit Squad (Edith Jiang and Jo Deng)
  • Second Place: Reflection Fountain installation by Team RecycleMe (Eric Harding, Marianna Coulentianos, Melissa Greene, and Scott Deisher)
  • Third Place: dance performance choreographed and composed by Team We-Cycle (Amy Wensley, Benjamin Marshall, Chelsea Hamm, Ellen Wallace, and Rachel Fernandes)
  • Honorable Mentions: Team MCCK (Chelsea Heath, Cindy Xuan, Kexu Chen, and Moona Lee) for their wearable bus stop weather protection, Team Rube (Boyang Zhang, Linda Sun, and Skanda Palani) for their U-M public art inspired Rube Goldberg creation, and Team JAZY (Yin Yin Lau, Yangtian Yan, Xuning Wang, and Jiahui Zhu) for their “empathy bed” and reflections on nutrition in Africa.

2017 judges

  • Jeremy Bond, Professor in Engineering/Game Design at U-M/MSU
  • Tony Cathcot, Principal Landscape Architect, Smith GroupJJR
  • Charlie Michaels, Assistant Director, U-M Center for Socially Engaged Design (C-SED)
  • Ken Panko, Director, Duderstadt Center


2015 winners


  • First Place Bonnie Jiang, first-year, A&D; Moona Li, first-year, A&D; Yan Du, first-year Engineering; Jiayu Chen, first-year, Engineering. This group created a camping backpack out of discarded fabric with PVC pipe and cardboard fashioned camping tools inside.
  • Second Place: Srishti Gupta, first-year, A&D; Clayton Zimmerman, first-year, LSA; Daniel Korth, first -year, Engineering; Angelina Fahs, second -year, Engineering; Alexander Kraft, first-year, Engineering. This group created a mobile workspace for college students using cardboard. This space included walls, a table and a chair.
  • Third Place: Alex Mattia, Senio, Engineering, Chih-Kang Chang, Masters, EECS; Steven Riley, third-year, LSA (Business) This group tightly tied together used plastic shopping bags in order to create an outdoor hammock or chair which could be hung from a tree.