Samsung Day of Service: Employees Join Forces with City Green & Students for a Day of Community Impact
Samsung Day of Service is an annual, hands-on community service initiative where employees nationwide come together to make a collective impact by supporting local nonprofit partners. In the heart of Clifton, New Jersey, on a bright afternoon, more than a dozen dedicated Samsung employees embarked on a journey of community engagement as they joined forces with City Green, a nonprofit urban farming and gardening organization in the area. The mission? To celebrate education, sustainability, and the spirit of giving.
But this wasn’t just any community service event. It was a convergence of passion, purpose, and innovation. The Samsung team had the privilege of meeting up with an inspiring group of students and their exceptional science, research, and engineering teacher, Mark Eastburn, from Princeton High School. The reason for this meeting? Mark Eastburn’s team was none other than the proud National Winners of the 2021-2022 Samsung Solve for Tomorrow STEM competition.
“The City Green event – which brought together two of our citizenship programs, Day of Service and Solve for Tomorrow – exemplifies that Samsung is more than just a company selling products; it’s a dedicated member of the community, actively involved in making a tangible difference. We don’t just talk about giving back; we physically engage and demonstrate our commitment to improving the communities we serve,” said Hiren Patel, Senior Product Marketing Manager – TVs, Samsung Electronics America.
“It was such a gift to learn from the Princeton High School students and see their project and passion in action. City Green, at its core, is a community-powered farm created for learning and growing. Today’s project was a beautiful example of how we can all learn from each other in our collective efforts to create healthier and more ecologically-minded communities,” said Liz Kleisner, Director of Community Horticulture, City Green.
Samsung Employees Gain Insights and Inspiration from Student Innovators
As the event unfolded, the students, who were brimming with enthusiasm, took center stage. Their mission was clear: to shed light on a critical issue—food waste and its alarming contribution to climate change. It was a problem that had been overlooked for far too long. Food waste, they revealed, stood as the third-largest contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In their community, just like many others, much of the discarded food ended up in landfills, releasing harmful emissions into the atmosphere.
The students shared their innovative solution, one that had not only earned them national recognition but had the potential to transform their community’s approach to waste management. Harnessing the power of biotechnology and a rather unlikely hero—the black soldier fly—the students had found a way to bioremediate food waste into valuable products. These included protein-rich feed for animals and a sustainable substitute for palm oil, a common ingredient in cosmetics like soap. Their creative approach promises to reduce GHG from landfills, contributing to a more sustainable future.
Princeton High School student Elija Meier commented, “Being part of the Solve for Tomorrow project has been eye-opening. Connecting with professionals in the sustainability field and witnessing how we can work together to create solutions gives me hope for the future. It has ignited an interest in me to explore such avenues in other aspects of my life, knowing that positive change is not only possible but within our reach.”
Student Yugandhara Luthra added, “As a high school student, it’s easy to feel like you can’t make a meaningful impact until you’re older. However, being a part of this project has shown me that even as a teenager, a little science and collaboration can move the needle on our environmental progress. It makes me feel like I’m contributing in my own small way, and it’s clear that when we come together, our collective efforts can truly make a significant impact.”
A Sustainable Enterprise Springs from Samsung Solve for Tomorrow
But there is more to this remarkable Day of Service story. The students explained how their journey with Samsung Solve for Tomorrow had extended far beyond the competition. Through their dedication and ingenuity, they had built a sustainable enterprise around the production and sale of these natural oils and other products derived from their food waste processing system. The result? An ongoing income stream that not only benefited their school’s STEM program but also reinforced their commitment to making a lasting impact on the environment.
Eastburn noted, “The soap that we’ve been making with sustainable oils has helped support the purchase of materials for our three-year research program. In addition, the greenhouses that we were able to secure through winning Samsung Solve for Tomorrow in 2022 have enabled us to build a standalone food waste remediation facility and we hope to start selling black soldier fly larvae as wild bird food and chicken feed within the next few months. The revenue generated will then be reinvested into new, innovative ideas that Princeton High School students are developing and building—both in our Research Program and in science classes that welcome English language learners.”
“The fact that students are able to make and market their own products has been incredibly empowering to them; it encourages them to think beyond mere consumerism and actually become entrepreneurs,” he continued.
The event in Clifton, New Jersey, was not just a day of service; it was a celebration of collaboration, innovation, and the boundless potential of young minds dedicated to solving some of our world’s most pressing challenges. Samsung’s commitment to fostering such educational initiatives and supporting these young changemakers and budding entrepreneurs was evident, and the impact of Samsung Day of Service and Samsung Solve for Tomorrow was undeniable.
To learn more about the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow STEM competition, which is accepting entries now through October 27, 2023, please visit samsung.com/solve.