Food waste theme fuels creative first year CST projects

The first year of the BCIT Computer Systems Technology (CST) Diploma winds up with a five-week intensive team project. This year, guests from Metro Vancouver launched the challenge theme, “food waste,” with inspiration from their Love Food Hate Waste campaign. Karen Storry and Alison Schatz presented issues of concern, including the fact that nearly half of food waste occurs in our homes, and over 50% of food waste is avoidable.

Teams of five students worked on a wide range of approaches, using the full set of skills learned in first year. At showcase day last Friday, the room was buzzing with the sound of solutions to the food waste problem, from Fuber, an app that scans QR codes when you shop and tracks what goes in your fridge, to the Food Fall game where users catch food before it goes to waste.

Beyond the usual grading component, computing students and guests also voted for their favourite projects, based on creativity, usefulness, and presentation skills – we know those in tech careers have an advantage if they start work on their pitch and demo skills as early as possible.

“The passion and creativity that the students brought to Metro Vancouver’s Love Food Hate Waste app challenge was both impressive and inspiring,” said Karen Storry, Senior Project Engineer, Metro Vancouver. “The student-created apps show great potential for further development. Working with the students and staff at BCIT was an absolute pleasure!”

This kind of hands-on problem solving is core to BCIT’s CST Diploma‌, and valued by grads. “It was a fantastic experience that really prepped me for the workplace; not to mention the value of working with a team of my classmates to create a project that we were proud of, which helped a great deal in landing me a co-op position,” said Sheldon Lynn, who participated last year.

Lead project instructor Carly Orr explained, “it is really cool to see students experience so much, in a relatively short period of time.”

In addition to flexing their tech skills, students also found the theme to be educational: “We realized how much food we really wasted!” exclaimed Josh Villegas.

Check out the photos of the morning session.


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