’burg and Beyond

In Lewisburg and far afield, Bucknell’s students and staff make a positive and palpable difference.
Students and Professor Kat Wakabayashi collaborating with Ben Smith
Photo: Courtesy of Ben Smith ’08
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Students and Professor Kat Wakabayashi (right) are collaborating with Ben Smith ’08 (in red shirt) to upscale a campus recycling initiative with Smith’s industry-scale plastic molding equipment.
" "Neptune City, N.J.
When pandemic safety measures caused an uptick in single-use plastics on campus, an inventive team of student engineers launched Ray’cycle, a campaign that turns waste into Bucknell-themed keepsakes for classmates. The initiative caught the eye of plastics manufacturing CEO Ben Smith ’08, whose company, Flexcraft, may soon help expand the operation.

What They’re Doing
After touring the Flexcraft facility in New Jersey this summer, the Ray’cycle team is partnering with Smith to upscale its production of nameplates and bison-shaped keychains. Harnessing Flexcraft’s industrial plastic manufacturing technology could increase the student project’s output by the thousands and make the products available to Bucknell alumni, parents and friends.

“There’s also potential to help Flexcraft by recycling their plastic scraps for our products as well,” says mechanical engineering major Jeffrey Gibbs ’24, who helped launch Ray’cycle. “We get an up-close look at real-world engineering while providing a benefit.”

Why They’re Excited
While connections with industries occur often in Bucknell engineering courses, the chance to collaborate with a company on a homegrown sustainability initiative is especially thrilling for the team.

“It’s a manifestation of how committed we’ve become,” says Professor Kat Wakabayashi, chemical engineering, who oversees the project. “Community service is a passion that we all have. This is a wonderful opportunity to continue pursuing that.”
— Brooke Thames