Summer Program Project

Problem Statement

Drive-Thru Sustainability: Designing and Launching a Food Truck with a Conscience

Food Trucks are more than just “meals-on-wheels”; they represent a trend of technological innovation and cultural diversity that has taken the food industry by storm. The enticing aroma of delicious food and the lively atmosphere of sharing good times with friends and family have made food trucks popular. However, with the increasing demand for food trucks comes a pressing concern – food waste. Shockingly, an estimated 40% of food produced in the United States and one-third globally is wasted each year, costing a staggering $1 trillion globally. The consequences of food waste extend beyond financial costs. When we waste food we also waste precious resources like water, energy, fertilizer, and human labor while contributing to harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

Your Challenge

This year’s Young Scholars will be challenged to design a comprehensive, sustainable food truck business that addresses environmental, social, and economic concerns. Working alongside distinguished Clarkson University professors from Sustainable Environment, Business, Psychology, and STEM Education research areas, you will explore effective sustainable tools and techniques used in real-world scenarios.

You will be tasked to use critical thinking and creativity skills to propose steps we can all take towards food conservation and waste reduction to help our planet get back on track.

From your research, you will:

  • Develop an eco-friendly, efficient, and inviting vehicle design.
  • Develop best practices for sustainable materials sourcing and food waste management.
  • Understand stakeholders and target customers' preferences and motivations.
  • Apply environmental, financial, and social aspects of sustainability and decision-making processes in business development.
  • Explore creative and impactful ways to promote sustainability in food choices and consumption, and develop an actionable plan to put these ideas into practice.

Expected Outcomes

At the end of the week, Young Scholars students will present their proposals to guest panelists, family members and friends. Students who successfully complete the program and meet the admission requirements will receive a $4,000 scholarship ($1,000 per year) towards tuition if they attend The Clarkson School or Clarkson University full time for their undergraduate education. Please note that $1,000 per year is the maximum scholarship amount a student can receive for attending Clarkson University summer programs, no matter how many programs he/she/they attend.

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