Recent graduates part of a team awarded $10,000 in global innovation competition

Group of people posing with a sign
Clockwise from top left are Margaux Sellnau, Julia Majewski, Kelsey Cunningham, Caroline Majewski and Christian Czernik of the Further Food team.
Image Credit: courtesy photo

Margaux Sellnau, ’20, and a team of four other college students were awarded second place and a cash prize of $10,000 at the 2020 Wege Prize competition. 

The Wege Prize is an annual competition focused on addressing systemic issues through developing circular economic models to drive change in the way we take, make and dispose of goods. 

This international competition is organized by Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD). The 2020 Wege Prize received submissions from 29 teams, representing 24 countries, 64 academic institutions and 100 academic disciplines. 

Sellnau’s team, known as Further Food, developed a model for transforming unused food from campus dining services into packaged meals made available to students, while leftover waste is diverted to an on-campus composting facility.

Sellnau said the idea came down to developing a solution to an issue the team saw in their everyday lives. “We found that something relatable to all of us was being on a university campus,” Sellnau said. “With food being so interwoven into daily human life, we found it relevant to focus on food in a campus setting.”

The Further Food team was comprised of Sellnau, '20, and Julia Majewski, '20, along with students from KCAD and Oakland University. The competition was a perfect fit for Sellnau, who is deeply passionate about environmental conservation. Sellnau graduated from the environmental and sustainability studies program in April and now serves as the interim farm manager and educator at GVSU’s Sustainable Agriculture Project

Sellnau said “everyone is making big plans” for their futures, and the prize money will help them with their goals. One team member has already used the funds to help with a down payment on a house, and Sellnau plans to do the same with her portion of the money. 

As for the future of Further Food, Sellnau hopes the model will be adopted by GVSU’s food vendor, Aramark, as well as other vendors around the country.