Teams from Huxley College's chapter of the Air and Waste Management Assocation (A&WMA) won first and third place at the Pacific Northwest International Section's annual conference and Environmental Challenge.

“For me there's double the excitement because it's my second time getting first place,” said Stacey Glenewinkel, co-chair of Huxley's chapter of the A&WMA.

Glenewinkel was a member of the first place team. She competed in the Environmental Challenge in 2006 and 2007.

The conference took place Oct. 17-19 in Boise, Idaho. Students representing schools around the Northwest competed in teams of three to five people. The teams were given a challenge four to six weeks before the conference simulating a real environmental problem and asked to come up with a two page proposal for a solution, Glenewinkel said.

The problem was complex. Students had to find a way to reduce odors from a meat packing plant without moving the plant or causing it to lose money. When the teams arrived at the conference, they were given additional “tweaks” to the problem. Then, they gave a 15- minute presentation explaining their proposed solution, Glenewinkel said.

The first place team won for its ability to find a solution that reduced odor by 99%, saved the plant money on fuel and also converted some of the plant to renewable energy. The first place team received a $1,600 prize, which was divided up between the team members, Glenewinkel said. The third place prize was $300.

In addition to providing students with an opportunity to solve a real-life problem, Glenewinkel said, the conference is also a chance for students to meet environmental professionals.

“It's just an amazing opportunity to get your foot in door,” she said.

The A&WMA celebrated its 100th anniversary this year. It is a professional organization, but it has student chapters at University of Washington, Washington State University and Montana Tech .

In June, the A&WMA will hold an international competition and Glenewinkel encourages Huxley students who are interested in competing to join the A&WMA.

“It's going to be bigger and better than ever,” Glenewinkel said.

For more information on A&WMA, visit http://www.huxleyawma.com.