What is THEProject?

THEProject is an annual collegiate project management competition offered by the Western Michigan Project Management Institute (WMPMI).  Although project management tends to favor business, computer science, and engineering curriculums, students of all academic disciplines are highly encouraged to participate.  THEProject engages college students in the practice of project management, develops their leadership skills, and provides them with a showcase to demonstrate their leadership abilities on stage and in person with business and community leaders from West Michigan.  

THEProject 2018 is the 7th annual collegiate project management competition offered by the Western Michigan Project Management Institute (WMPMI). Student teams from colleges and universities throughout the WMPMI service area help create solutions for a real-life scenario in the form of a project plan.

The 2018 THEProject Scenario

Reducing Food Waste – from farm to fork to landfill. What opportunities exist for individuals to reduce food waste and make a difference?

People need to be more informed about food waste reduction programs that are available at the national, state, and municipal levels and move beyond the two-bin recycling approach to waste. The Greater Grand Rapids area annually throws away approximately 132,000 tons of food waste, and Southwest Michigan annually throws away approximately 106,000 tons. Creatively educating our citizenry could save money, reduce the strain on area landfills, as well as positively impact our communities and our wellbeing.

Students will design, create, and package an educational program that draws current practical information from the national, state, and municipal levels to show what people can do to reduce food waste. This education program should include the best ways to purchase food, incorporate creative food storage solutions, effective food preparation, and waste diversion efforts, which concludes at the local landfill. Your project plan, if executed by your project sponsor, must educate people to reduce food waste effectively.

As a State, we have one of the lowest recycling rates in the Midwest. We need to look beyond our recycling of cans and plastic bottles and creatively figure out what we can do to reduce our waste overall.” Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, State of the State Address, November 28, 2012


THEProject 2018 Finalists


"Green Root Consulting" TEAM

1st Place:  Green Root Consulting - GVSU
Team:  Matt Stevenson, Kyle Ferris, Assem Aljamhoor, Pushpaja Dodla, Bisoye Adeosun, Zee Kandanga

2nd Place:  Real Food for Thought - GVSU

Team:  Josh DuBay, Tyler Kanczuzewski, Bryleigh Loughlin, Qi’Shaun Coyle, Luciano Hernandez, Marissa Hoffman

3rd Place:  Squash the Waste - Michigan Tech Univ

Team:  John Carey, Emma LaFleur, Shelbie Koenitzer, Nihar Brahmbhatt, Austin Riipi

4th Place:  Serve to Conserve - Cornerstone

Team:  Tyler Pohl, Mackenzie VanderWolde, Hunter Brown, Erik Bean

Other honors recognized by THEProject:


Penultimate Food Waste Reduction Group of Hillsdale College - Most Creative Team Name

Edible Impact of Hillsdale College - Best Face to Face Presentation Delivery

Lettuce Taco Food Waste of Michigan Technology University - Best Presentation Book

Dotti of Hillsdale College - Most Improved


WMPMI acknowledges the competition is an excellent tool to teach real world skills to students, to incite an interest in project management as a career and to ignite an understanding of how complex problems can be solved and solutions delivered using tools that have been honed in the fires of real life practice.

How Does It Work?

Student teams comprised of 3 to 6 students from colleges and universities in the Western Michigan area must provide solutions for a real-life scenario in the form of a project plan.  Each team is provided a detailed scenario and assigned a PMP® (project management professional) certified mentor to teach them how to transform their solutions into project plans using the initiating and planning processes documented in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (a.k.a., the PMBOK). Teams are judged on their use of proper project management techniques, the quality of their solutions, and their ability to present their project plans.

he event day, which takes place on the second Monday in April, includes team presentations, keynote speakers, and a reverse career fair where business professionals seeking employees and/or interns interview students. And, of course, there is plenty of good food and networking opportunities. The top three teams in the competition will receive cash prizes. Teams that do not place in the final four may receive prizes in a variety of categories during the awards presentation.

All students have an opportunity to be noticed by the employers and may be offered internship and work opportunities.

THEProject - Where Are They Now  Read about where previous students are now, and how THEProject has benefitted their career paths.

WMPMI has successfully hosted a Collegiate Project management competition every year since 2012.  

 If you have any questions please send an email to  THE Project@wmpmi.org