Smart Campus Challenge Winners Travel to Paris, France with ENGIE

From Left: Michael Fackler, Timothy Kirby, Danny Freudiger, Layne Toops (ENGIE at Ohio State Office Manager) and Isabelle Kocher (ENGIE CEO)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Last month, Smart Campus Challenge winners, Wasted Opportunities, traveled to Paris, France during ENGIE’s Innovation week.

The first Smart Campus Challenge, presented by Ohio State Energy Partners, ENGIE and Axium Infrastructure, concluded in February and awarded all six finalists $144,000 dollars, combined, for their project proposals to make the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University more sustainable.

Wasted Opportunities was awarded first place and $54k for their proposed start-up that collects otherwise wasted food from on-campus dining facilities and distributes it to local food banks in need. Through this process, the group collects food waste data to optimize university purchasing patterns.

While in Paris, the team had the opportunity to attend ENGIE’s Marketplace award ceremony, ENGIE’s Good Day, the corporate headquarters located in La Defense, as well as meet ENGIE’s Global CEO, Isabelle Kocher, CFO, Judith Hartmann and ENGIE North America CEO, Gwenaëlle Avice-Huet.

“It opened my eyes to all the great things ENGIE is doing,” says Danny Freudiger, Wasted Opportunities team member. “The innovative direction of the company is exciting. I am looking forward to what will come out of the partnership with Ohio State in the coming years.”

The second Smart Campus Challenge will occur in February 2021.


Ohio State Energy Partners is a joint venture of ENGIE and Axium Infrastructure, which was selected in 2017 by Ohio State to operate, maintain and optimize the university’s utility system at the more than 400-building campus in Columbus, Ohio, under a 50-year contract.