In this photo, a woman and a man look at a project poster.

A student project to turn farm waste into fuel and revenue won the $5,000 grand prize at SPU’s 12th annual Social Venture Plan Competition in April.

The winning team, Itheno, comprised junior Cheyenne Thornton and seniors Kristina Brennan and Naomi Miller, who proposed a process for rice farmers to turn waste into energy. Farmers in Dakshin Dinajpur, India, commonly burn rice stubble in their fields before planting the next crop. The team developed a chemical process to turn that waste into bioethanol and fertilizer. Farmers would pay a fee to have stubble removed and would receive bioethanol for household and farm use in return. Fertilizer and excess fuel would be sold for profit.

Each spring, the Center for Applied Learning in SPU’s School of Business, Government, and Economics offers the contest, which encourages students from all majors to develop entrepreneurial projects that can make a difference in the world.

Prior to the competition, SPU illustration and visual communication students help the teams develop visual brand identities — logos, names, and more — for their projects.

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