This past summer, one of the Center for Civic Innovation (CCI) Internship Program intern teams worked closely alongside the corporate innovation team at THOR Industries to initiate the Advanced Manufacturing and Sustainability project. The focus of the research was end of life cycle sustainability, in which the team helped identify opportunities to help limit landfill contributions. THOR, a Fortune 500 company, has contributed to the regions’ economic success. As the world’s largest RV manufacturer, THOR anticipates producing at least 300,000 of the half million RV’s the RV Industry Association’s projects being sold in North America in 2022.
Grace Wetli (University of Notre Dame ‘24), Eduardo Yepiz (University of Notre Dame ‘24), Benjamin Fraser (University of Notre Dame ‘24), and Stephanie Sebastian Granados ( Elkhart High School ‘23) were the CCI interns who worked on the Advanced Manufacturing & Sustainability Project.
The main tasks within this project included researching current usability of RV’s (lifespan, end of life destinations, etc.), composing a list of opportunities for reuse and re-purposing, and developing a preliminary business plan based on RV reuse. The business plan combined several business ideas to determine whether an RV has major or minor damage before facilitating its reuse.The internship culminated with the students presenting a finalized business proposal to THOR Stakeholders.
CCI and THOR plan to continue the relationship by co-designing industry projects mentored by THOR through a course offered to Notre Dame students by the Center for Civic Innovation.