Clemson University’s packaging division was highly involved in this year’s PackExpo International show at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL. CAFLS staff manned a booth in the Education Pavilion to connect with Clemson alumni and promote the Packaging Science (PKSC) program. 20 or more PKSC students from a Creative Inquiry (CI) class this semester also designed, built and manned booth N-4543 during the show, showcasing three hands-on experiences for data-driven package design. The CI class is led by Dr. Andrew Hurley, Associate Professor in PKSC and a partner faculty member of the Sonoco Institute.
“PackExpo is a unique opportunity for students to engage with packaging industry stakeholders,” commented Hurley. “It’s an invaluable experience that connects students with employment opportunities, practical applications of packaging acumen and hundreds of resources under one roof.”
Attendees were invited into booth N-4543 to try out each unique experience, including (1) an eye-tracking study on minimalist packaging and sustainability logos set up along the back wall, utilizing a pair of Tobii Mobile Eye Tracking Glasses, (2) a facial coding study where attendees were videoed trying to remove two water bottle caps – the second glued shut – analyzing their emotional response to the packaging experience and (3) a virtual reality grocery shopping environment (CUshopVR) built by the Sonoco Institute where attendees shopped for products while onlookers surveyed a number of real-time packaging statistics, similar to those collected in the eye-tracking study.
The students would be seen taking shifts at the booth, walking the trade show floor, conversing with attendees from various companies, participating in the PackExpo Amazing Packaging Race and more.
“This was my first year at PackExpo and I was really amazed at how big the show was and how many opportunities there were!” commented Austin Moore, PKSC Junior. “I made way more connections with fellow packaging science majors and packaging businesses than I expected.”
In the Sonoco Institute’s October newsletter, you met PKSC CI student leader and designer of this year’s booth setup, Ray Cummings. With help from his peers in the PKSC CI class, Cummings designed the floorpan and wall graphics to PMMI specs, obtained sponsorship information from FESTO and incorporated their brand into the booth design, designed the eye-tracking and facial coding studies, printed and assembled the eye-tracking shelf products and wall graphics, acquired materials to build the unique booth design, coordinated the booth’s table to be milled and constructed, and, finally, made sure everything reached Chicago on palettes and was constructed in a timely manner!
“I loved every day of PackExpo and learned a lot about where the industry is headed and how I can be more involved and mindful of the industry,” Moore continued. “I want to go back next year and I would highly recommend it to anybody looking to learn a lot and develop a network of references.”
Click here to learn more about how the Sonoco Institute works with students and industry at Clemson University.