After 14 months of planning and construction, the newly renovated packaging building was unveiled to donors and leadership on the construction of the building. Until this past year, the College of Packaging's building had not been renovated since 1986.
Following $10 million in funds raised by donors, groundbreaking began in April 2022. College of Packaging Director Matt Daum said the vision for the renovations came from the history of the school and what alumni have done for the institution.
Daum said the old space needed to be updated for modern-day teaching and research. He also said the old building did not honor the alumni that came through it.
The unveiling ceremony showed off areas including the Ring Container Technologies Innovation Hall, which serves as a collaboration space in the main corridor of the building with open seating and study pods.
The Amcor Lecture Hall was also created, which packaging senior Emma Dayton said was her favorite renovation because of its good lighting for a conducive learning environment.
Other renovations included laboratory spaces like a sustainability lab, which is a combination of two labs for polymer recycling and paper coating technology.
Packaging doctorate student Pooja Mayekar said the labs used to be half the size of they are now. She said the new labs create more ability to innovate in a larger space and add a safety aspect to the building.
“If they had done this a few years back, I would have loved to start my PhD again,” Mayekar said. “It is so amazing, especially with all the facilities now with respect to security and with respect to space.”
Material sciences and engineering senior Nicole Kelly said because there are only a couple of universities that have a similar packaging program to MSU, the renovations were a way to recognize the prestige they have on campus.
“I think it is pretty cool because not all colleges get this opportunity, and especially with packaging being such a specific industry and as being an innovator within the space, I think it's cool to have those resources and make sure that we are up to date on everything before we hit those jobs in the real world,” Kelly said.
Amcor Executive President Michael Schmitt said he worked closely with Daum to commit to the renovations. He said he wanted to put the students of the college first when thinking about their goals in the future, creating a space where they could explore their options for the future of the business.
“You talk with them, and you really pick up their passion for packaging,” Schmitt said. “They've got an opportunity to change the world. Packaging — a lot of it ends up as waste and much of packaging waste can be designed out of it over time. They have the opportunity to help change the world in the future and try to help clean up the environment.”
Interim president Teresa Woodruff spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. She said that college's alumni can be found across the country in global and Fortune 500 companies and that she sees them as leaders in all organizational levels.
“As I look around this new part of the heart of the School of Packaging, it's really wonderful to see the spaces that reflect the impact and new stature of the School of Packaging at MSU,” Woodruff said in her speech.
Woodruff said this expansion of the school would “elevate excellence” for years to come, demonstrating the confidence of the future of the College of Packaging.