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WMU senior creates cards to benefit area charity

Nov. 28, 2007

KALAMAZOO--A Western Michigan University senior design project has turned into a lesson in crafting and selling a product from scratch while raising money for a charitable cause.

Paper engineering student Andrew Sigler of Livonia, Mich., has had a hand in every step of the creation of his original holidays cards--manufacturing his own paper from recycled pulp, approving a design, and printing and marketing the cards to stores to raise money for the Kalamazoo Humane Society.

Sigler designed his first holiday cards two years ago as part of a fund-raiser for victims of Hurricane Katrina through Tsai Lun--a WMU student organization for paper engineering, paper science and chemical engineering majors.

This time around, Sigler produced and tested paper samples of various weights, strengths and appearances of paper and then manufactured the paper using donated pulp and WMU's Paper Pilot Plants. A pen-and-ink drawing of a snowman with the words "Season's Greetings'" is on the front of the cards, and Sigler has marketed them to local stores and business to benefit the Kalamazoo Humane Society. A total of 2,400 cards have been printed to sell for $1 each in packets of five or 10.

"It's an opportunity certainly to raise money for charity but also to learn about the industry from the start to finish of a product," says Sigler, who is scheduled to graduate from WMU Dec. 15. Looking at the project, "there's an understanding about the opportunities we have at Western with our paper program. I didn't realize before all the work that goes into making cards."

Sigler's faculty advisor, Dr. John Cameron, professor of engineering, commended the project because it covered every step in making greeting cards and their marketing.

"To make pulp from recycled materials, make the paper and print it all in the same location--is truly unique," he says. "There are challenges also in making something and putting value to it, organizing it and finding stores to sell it."

Sigler's project is one of a total of 42 to be highlighted at the 41st annual Conference on Senior Engineering and Design Projects Tuesday, Dec. 4, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences on WMU's Parkview Campus.

The conference is held twice a year to showcase the work of graduating seniors in the engineering disciplines, who are required to complete a real-world capstone project.

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Senior engineering majors showcase design projects

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

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