Many college students strive to be environmentally conscious — whether it’s by using a reusable bag while grocery shopping, using a metal straw in your morning cup of coffee, choosing to recycle plastic waste, or even composting. While there are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint, one thing is for sure: each American produces almost five pounds of trash per day, according to EnvironmentAmerica.org.
While cleaning out his high school locker, Alex Mykulyn, a junior political science student with a minor in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), came up with the basic idea for iCycle. After seeing the extreme amount of waste, he decided something had to be done.
Mykulyn described, “I saw that on this one day of the year, my school alone was disposing of hundreds if not thousands of notebooks that would inevitably be landfilled.”
So, what is iCycle? iCycle is a waste diversion company centered on recognizing unique waste diversion opportunities, such as locker clean out day, and capitalizing on them. “Right now, we’re researching closed loop venues (this is anywhere you’re not allowed to bring in food or drinks; theaters, stadiums, etc.). These venues provide us with a unique opportunity to decrease the amount we send to the landfill, because we control what goes into the loop and can therefore control what comes out,” said Mykulyn.
Mykulyn will be pitching his business at Monmouth University’s Center for Entreprneurship’s HawkTank Business Pitch Competition on April 17 in the Great Hall Auditorium. He credits the center with helping him research and develop iCycle. “Alison Gilbert has been an incredible guide and mentor to me through this process; providing feedback, challenging me, connecting with new networks, and pushing me when necessary,” said Mykulyn. “The political science and honors faculty have [also] been incredibly gracious in their time and energy. Dr. Joe Patten has always pushed me to think deeply about the world’s problems and challenged me to find ways to take a bite.”
Joseph Patten, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Political Science and Sociology, said, “Alex is a first-rate student and person and a natural born leader. He and his debate partner Jocelyn Marsh have won team and individual awards at national tournaments and helped create a dynamic team culture as co-captains of MU’s debate team. His strong research and writing skills coupled with his real-life experience with food sustainability issues are at the foundation of his important and impactful project.”
Mykulyn described his excitement at hearing iCycle was a finalist for HawkTank. He recognizes the many students at Monmouth with compelling business ideas and is honored to be a part of the six that were chosen.
Although Mykulyn is proud of this accomplishment, he is always learning. He said, “The tough part now will be learning the language of business ahead of the pitch. I intend to lean on Alison and The Center for Entrepreneurship between now and then to learn the basics.”
In developing his company, it all goes beyond the competition and back to his roots. “Notebooks on Locker Clean-Out Day are the original ’unique opportunity’ that I saw and I’m really excited that we have plans in motion to work with local schools this Spring,” he said.