The Society of Plastics Engineers outreach program is getting a boost from SPE's Thermoforming Division.
The division has made a $20,000 matching grant to support SPE's PlastiVan traveling education program for elementary and high school students. The division expects the grant will be the first of a series of annual grants it will make to support plastics education.
When a company involved in the thermoforming sector wants to sponsor a local visit of the PlastiVan travelling show, SPE will draw on the division grant to match the company's contribution. Sponsor companies could be suppliers of machinery or materials, sheet extruders, thermoformers or other businesses in the thermoforming value chain.
PlastiVan manager Margie Weiner said in a phone interview that a visit of the traveling show costs about $1,500 per day, half provided by the sponsoring company and the other half from the recently announced grant. Visits typically take two or three days and involve contract educators and kits to explain how polymers are made and processed into finished goods as well as the value of plastics in society.
“Children absolutely love this program,” Weiner said. “We've had students wanting to go into plastics engineering after seeing the program.”
Last year the PlastiVan educational program reached 35,000 students during 198 visits at 92 schools.
SPE spokeswoman Sue Wojnicki said other SPE divisions also support outreach programs in a variety of ways.