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Before you know it,  September is here and that can only mean one thing…….Pulp and Paper Foundation Events are right around the corner and the prep frenzy begins. This year, NC State Paper Science and Engineering program hosted it’s 63rd annual PPF meeting.  The event brought together students, alumni, industry partners, donors, faculty, and staff, all in support of the Paper Science and Engineering program and Foundation, and when it was all said and done, 321 were in attendance.

Giving back in “prepping”

The week leading up to the event promises to be very busy and full of excitement! Students can be found, at almost any given time, helping  in a wide variety of ways to prepare for the events ahead.  Students are found working together assembling and wrapping gifts, stuffing nametags, assigning ribbons, folding programs, and many other tasks that are needed.  This year 35 students volunteered and it is this behind scenes action helps make the event successful, we could do it without our cherished students.

Paper Industry Career Fair

The celebration began with the Paper Industry Career fair on September 6, which was held at Talley Student Union. Twenty-five companies were represented, all looking to recruit students for summer internships, co-ops, and permanent positions. Every year this event provides a great way for students to network and meet industry partners, as well as land interviews!

Fall Annual Meeting

Thursday, September 7, 2017 was the Annual Pulp and Paper Foundation Meeting. For all the female students, and some males students who chose to join, the day started off with a Women in Industry Luncheon and Panel. This event focused on the differences between men and women in the industry. A diverse panel of men and women, from the industry, discussed what they have seen as the challenges women face, as well as some strengths women can bring to the industry. As a female, I thought it was a great opportunity to learn more about what to expect as a female in this industry.

Following the luncheon, there was an engineering competition. This was the first time including this event at the Foundation Meeting. Students were divided into teams of four and given the challenge to build the tallest tower out of just a few sheets of newspaper and a roll of masking tape. While students were building, industry professionals were walking around asking us paper related trivia questions. The trivia questions were used to break any ties in the rankings. The first place team won $100 gift cards per team member!

The main event of the general session was the Industry Leadership Panel. During this event, four high-ranking mill managers and Vice Presidents took the time out of their busy schedules to make up the panel.  Thank you to Mario Infante, Cascades Tissue, Mark Keaton, GAF, Bill MacPherson, Domtar and Bill Kessinger, Kapstone  and Ronnie Hise served as the moderator. They shared background on how they got to their positions, and offered general advice for the industry. It was definitely an enjoyable session and all the students present took away many helpful tips on what it takes to be a successful leader in this industry.

The concluding event of the evening was the banquet. The banquet allows opportunity for students to sit amongst, and network with, successful members of the industry as we enjoy a delicious dinner. It is always interesting to hear everyone’s different backgrounds and experiences in the industry. During the banquet, faculty were recognized for their accomplishments and awards won, a video of the PIE trip to China was featured, and the seniors were recognized for their hard work in the program.

Golf Tournament

The golf and cornhole tournaments concluded the celebration on Friday morning. Everyone who participated had a great time!

It is always amazing to see how many people come together for this event every year. It really shows the outstanding amount of support that this program receives, which I truly believe you won’t find anywhere else. This feel of this network is like a close knit family between students, alumni, and the industry. Bringing everyone together for this event is an incredible undertaking but definitely more than worth it.

Thank you to all of the alumni, donors, faculty, staff, and students who helped to make this celebration a success!  I look forward to the 64th celebration next year!

By guest blogger Sarah Pumphrey