Virginia Tech will host the 29th annual national Packaging Jamboree March 20 and 21, offering students, educators, and professionals the opportunity to network, participate in competitions, listen to speakers, and learn of the latest developments in the packaging and distribution industry.

The theme of the 2014 jamboree is “Packaging in a Global Market.” Presentations and exhibitions will focus on the global challenges and opportunities the packaging and distribution industry face in the future. Discussions will include distribution to new and expanding markets and how technology can manage increasing energy costs, limit environmental impacts, reduce product damage, and increase overall efficiency.

Representatives from industry will set up booths to showcase their products, providing an opportunity for students to make connections with potential employers.

“Students can build their own network, which is the most important thing for their success in the globally interactive packaging industry,” said Young Kim, assistant professor of practice in the College of Natural Resources and Environment. “The event brings mutual benefits to both academia and industry, helping to unite the packaging community.”

Sponsors of the event, which is hosted by a different school each year, include the World Packaging Organisation, the Institute of Packaging Professionals, YUPO, Packaging Corporation of America, Klöckner Pentaplast, and the Lansmont Corporation, among others.

Highlights of the 2014 event, to be held in the Squires Student Center on the Blacksburg campus, include a dinner banquet, an egg drop competition, and a video presentation by Chet Rutledge, Wal-Mart’s director of private brand packaging.

Virginia Tech is one of a handful of U.S. institutions — and the only one in Virginia — preparing undergraduates for careers in packaging science. A new bachelor’s degree in packaging systems and design has been approved for implementation in fall 2014.

Visit the 2014 Packaging Jamboree website for more information.

Written by LauraBess Kenny of Richmond, Va., a senior majoring in communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

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