March 22, 2014 – By Madeline Alden (Senior, SBIO)
On March 20-22, Virginia Tech’s Packaging Student Club hosted the 29th Annual National Packaging Jamboree at the Squires Student Center in Blacksburg, Va. The Packaging Jamboree is a yearly conference where packaging students and industry leaders from across the country gather together to discuss current issues and innovations in the packaging industry. The event takes place at a different university each year. Participating schools included Clemson University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Michigan State University, Virginia Tech, and the University of Wisconsin-Stout. This year around 70 students and 40 industry attendees from over a dozen companies including Packaging Corporation of America, Klockner Pentaplast, Printpack Inc., PECO Inc., Lansmont Inc, United Pallet, Inc., Stephen Gould Cor., and Scholle Packaging, participated in the event.
One of most valuable opportunities at the event was the ability for students to network with companies within their chosen field of study. Alyssa Lopez, a junior in the program remarked, “One of the best opportunities at Jamboree was the exposure to different professionals from all corners of the packaging industry. I was able to have one on one time with companies and really get to know their mission, which also puts my name in their head for future job openings.”
Opening remarks to the event’s festivities were given by Dr. Paul Winistorfer, the Dean of the College of Natural Resources and Environment, Dr. Bob Smith, the Head of the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials, and Dr. Mark White, Professor Emeritus. Dr. White, former director of the Center for Unit Load and Design and founder of the packaging center at the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials, introduced the history, goal and vision of Virginia Tech and the Packaging program. In his presentation, Dr. White introduced the new Virginia Tech Packaging program: “At Virginia Tech, our goal is to create a professional, educated in the design of all packaging components and how they interact. To arm these professionals with tools that model these interactions with the aim of designing supply chains more systematically.”
Two keynote speakers’ presentations were given by John Antle from ABF Freight and Bob Sanders from IB M that followed the theme for this year’s Jamboree which was “Packaging in a Global World.” Lasmont, White & Company, and Scholle Packaging provided three educational workshops regarding different components of packaging systems. Students competed in an interactive competition to test the best protective packaging for an egg that was dropped from a height of two stories in Squires Student Center. Virginia Tech’s Mascot, the Hokie Bird, excitedly dropped each package. Following the competition, Naturally Sharp, an all-male acapella group affiliated with Virginia Tech, performed during dinner in the Commonwealth Ballroom for the event.
Mr. Bob Sanders (IB M, NC ), said “I very much enjoyed the conference, meeting the students, faculty and industry representatives and spending some quality time in downtown Blacksburg. Virginia Tech must be proud of this success.” Mr. Bryan Williams (Lansmont, Inc, CA), offered a workshop about vehicle dynamics for packaging. Planning the event was a learning experience for all the students involved. Cyrus Adibpour, Vice President of the Packaging club, commented, “The packaging club worked countless hours and was truly dedicated to making the Jamboree run smoothly. It was primarily successful due to the club’s hard work and I strongly believe no one could ever match up to their diligence.” More than a dozen students have been planning the event since the fall of 2013 including Mike Deck, a current senior in the packaging program. Deck’s take away from the event was that, “It was a great experience planning such a worthwhile event that helped connect students and employers within the packaging industry.”