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Paperboard Packaging Alliance Announces 2020 Student Design Challenge Winners

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Ryerson University Wins Competition for Innovative Packaging Design

WASHINGTON – The Paperboard Packaging Alliance (PPA) today announced winners of its 2020 Student Design Challenge, a competition designed to foster awareness and appreciation of paperboard packaging with university educators and the next generation of packaging design decision-makers.

A team of student designers from Ryerson University won first place; Rochester Institute of Technology took home second place; the Fashion Institute of Technology received third place; and an honorable mention was given to an additional team from Rochester Institute of Technology.

Students were asked to design an innovative packaging toolkit for educators to use as part of the Trees into Cartons, Cartons into Trees (TICCIT®) program, which engages third through fifth graders in an environmental and educational activity, highlighting the renewability and sustainability of paper and paperboard packaging. All submitted designs can be viewed on the PPA Website.

The Student Design Challenge is an annual competition for university students in leading packaging design programs to show off their creative talent, design skills and innovative approaches to meet real-world customer needs and marketing scenarios.

“The Student Design Challenge is proof there is a vibrant and bright future ahead for an essential and sustainable industry, the paperboard packaging industry,” says Heidi Brock, AF&PA President & CEO. “Teams of students not only solved a challenge, but they also overcame obstacles presented by COVID-19 this year. They used virtual collaboration and technology tools to develop impressive designs, demonstrating an ability to be more adaptable and resilient.”

“The positive impact of this year’s Student Design Challenge on the future of our industry is twofold,” says Ben Markens, President of the Paperboard Packaging Council. “First, it has engaged some of the brightest minds in the next generation of packaging designers, offering them hands-on experience with paperboard. Second, by designing for TICCIT, they’re helping to educate an even younger generation—schoolchildren who will one day have the opportunity to choose renewable, recyclable paperboard packaging.”

2020 Students Design Challenge Winners

1st Place: Ryerson University

Team: Dorotea Bajic and Laura Rendell-Dean

Advisors: Natalia Lumby and Jay Park

2nd Place: Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)

Team: Rachel Goldberg, Luke Hallick, Brianna Johnson, Allison Kunz, Jenna Robinson

Advisors: Carlos Diaz-Acosta, Lorrie Frear, Emily Barclay


3rd Place: Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)

Team: Valeria Bornacelli, Michelle Kim, Ashley Markiewicz, Margaret Seleznev

Advisors: Sandra Krasovec, Adam Straus


Honorable Mention: Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)

Team: Daeya Shealy, Erica Boyd, Anna Schum-Houck, Sierra Babcock

Advisors: Carlos Diaz-Acosta, Lorrie Frear, Emily Barclay


The first-place design will be put into production and adapted for use in the TICCIT® program. Winning student teams and their academic programs received monetary awards – first place: $5,500 to the team/$5,000 to the school; second place: $3,300 to the team/$3,000 to the school; third place: $1,650 to the team/$1,500 to the school.


2021 Student Design Challenge

The 2021 challenge is to design packaging for a hunger relief organization that enhances the recipients’ experience and can be used for storage.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, June 4, 2021. 

To download the challenge packet, visit


About the Paperboard Packaging Alliance
The Paperboard Packaging Alliance (PPA) is a joint initiative of the American Forest & Paper Association and the Paperboard Packaging Council. The mission is to promote the benefits of paperboard packaging to influence preference for these materials in packaging design and selection. PPA is a proud supporter of collegiate packaging and design programs across the U.S. and Canada, donating thousands of dollars in scholarships, materials, and classroom resources each year. Alliance membership includes companies representing the full range of mills and converters engaged in the production of paperboard packaging. Additional information about PPA can be found at

About the American Forest & Paper Association
The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance a sustainable U.S. pulp, paper, packaging, tissue and wood products manufacturing industry through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. AF&PA member companies make products essential for everyday life from renewable and recyclable resources and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry’s sustainability initiative — Better Practices, Better Planet 2020. The forest products industry accounts for approximately four percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures nearly $300 billion in products annually and employs approximately 950,000 men and women. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $55 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 45 states. Visit AF&PA online at or follow us on Twitter @ForestandPaper.

About the Paperboard Packaging Council
Now in its 91st year, the Paperboard Packaging Council (PPC) is the North American association for manufacturers of paperboard packaging and their suppliers. PPC works to grow, promote, and protect the paperboard packaging industry while providing its members with resources and tools to compete successfully in the marketplace. For more information, visit

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