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Blair Williams (purple shirt), Nick Raschke (tan shirt) and Josh Peters (blue shirt) submitted their "Save the Earth with Shirts" project to the international Canvas My Campus Contest sponsored by Prezi and Tilt. Their project has made it to the semi-final round. Vote for their project in the semi-final round (through Nov. 17) at
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Vote for WIU Students' "Save the Earth with Shirts"; Project in Top 45 of Int'l Entrepreneurship Contest

November 10, 2014

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MACOMB, IL — A class project submitted to an international entrepreneurship contest by three Western Illinois University students has made it to the semi-final round.

According to WIU Department of Management and Marketing Professor Carrie Belsito, Nick Raschke (Oak Forest, IL), senior, business management major; Josh Peters (St. Charles, IL), senior, business management major; and Blair Williams (Decatur, IL), junior, supply-chain management major, submitted their presentation, "Save the Earth with Shirts," to the second annual Canvas My Campus Contest sponsored by Prezi and Tilt. In order to make it to the final round, the project will need votes. Members of the Western Illinois University community can vote for the project in the semi-final round through Monday, Nov. 17, at

"Nick, Josh and Blair, along with my other students in the management 472 course, 'Entrepreneurship I: Innovation, Creativity and Concept,' submitted a presentation, which was built around a business idea that would create impact around a social change issue that the students thought worthy of addressing," Belsito explained. "'Save the Earth with Shirts' was one of the projects that made it to the contest's semi-final round. If they make it through the next round of the contest, they will then head to San Francisco next spring to pitch their idea and solicit funding through an online Tilt campaign."

The background of project is tied to the future management career goals of Peters, Raschke and Williams, as well as to Williams' family business, Murrell's Disposal, based in Decatur (IL). The purpose of the project is to take the plastic bottles—which according to the students' "Save the Earth with Shirts" presentation, are thrown away at a rate of 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour—and recycle them into t-shirts.

"Our plan is to set up recycling bins at colleges and universities specifically for the plastic products. These will be picked up by the recycler partner of our choice, and that partner will then recycle the plastic bottles into material that can be used for t-shirts and sent to a t-shirt manufacturer. The manufacturer, in turn, will send each school (that participates in the 'Save the Earth with Shirts' project) free t-shirts, based on the amount of plastic collected at each school," the trio explained in the Prezi online presentation.

"The increasing costs of dumping plastics bottles was bankrupting the business that had been in my family for more than 100 years," Williams added. "By decreasing the amount of plastic we typically pick up, we would have more room to pick up additional garbage. This also would decrease the amount of time it takes to separate the recyclable plastic bottles from the rest of the garbage."

Vote for the "Save the Earth with Shirts" project online at

For more information, contact Belsito at @, Williams at, Peters at or

Posted By: Teresa Koltzenburg (
Office of University Communications & Marketing