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Student wins design competition

Joe Trombello | Wednesday, February 18, 2004

A reluctance to take out his trash led to a $3,000 payoff for junior art design major Brad Jolitz.Jolitz was recently awarded first place in the International Housewares Association Student Design Competition, a contest that Notre Dame students had frequently entered in the past, but never won. His design – Re-Bag – is an easy-to-load, compact trashcan composed of biodegradable materials. It beat out 197 other entries from undergraduates, graduates and student teams at some of the top art design programs in the country.”I was absolutely thrilled when I found out – ecstatic,” he said.Jolitz said he conceived of the idea while sitting in his dorm room and speaking with his roommates, none of whom particularly wanted to take out the trash. Jolitz said that trash duty was often a common problem and hassle.”No one wants to take out the trash,” he said. “We cram so much in there. There are never any bags anywhere, so we end up having to steal someone else’s. It’s kind of a hassle and no one wants to do it.”Jolitz said that the name for his product, which came near the final stages of the design process, represents its function.Jolitz’s prepared his project for a product design class, an expectation of which was that project designs, once completed, be submitted into the competition. Re-Bag was named best in show by ten judges from companies such as Whirlpool and Hamilton Beach.Paul Down, associate professor of art design, was among the judges.”[Jolitz] was competing against some of the best design schools in the country, so it means a great deal to Notre Dame and to him,” he said. “[He] was extraordinary … diligent in research … thorough, organized. We are really proud of the guy and think he did a great job.”Down said that other judges praised the product, calling it “very elegant in its simplicity.” Jolitz said that his product, which consisted of numerous drafts, revisions and sketches, could not have been completed without the assistance of the art faculty.”This product would never have gotten where it is without their advice and help. They were definitely pivotal,” he said.In addition to the cash prize, Jolitz, along with the two second-place winners and three third-place recipients, will display their products during the International Home and Housewares Show March 20-22 in Chicago’s McCormick Place. Approximately 60,000 visitors from over 100 countries will attend the show, and Jolitz will have the potential to sell his concept to prospective buyers and receive employment offers from interested companies.Although he is personally excited by the award and has already received several employment offers, Jolitz also realizes the impact that his award will have on the Notre Dame art design program.”It’s a big opportunity because Notre Dame is going to get a lot of press,” he said. “I’m happy for the design department.”