SUSTAINABILITY

February 2, 2024 / 3 minute read

ADS Foundation Donates $1 Million to the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Advanced Materials Center

DULUTH, Minn., February 01, 2024--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Earlier today, Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc. (ADS) (NYSE: WMS), presented a gift of $1 million from the ADS Foundation to the University of Minnesota Duluth’s (UMD) Advanced Materials Center (AMC). ADS is a leading provider of innovative water management solutions in the stormwater and on-site septic wastewater industries, and one of the largest plastic recyclers in North America. This funding will provide scholarships and research funding for UMD’s graduate students in Applied Materials Science and Engineering, supporting the education of future scientists and engineers, and further research on the repurposing of plastic waste.

"A primary initiative of the Advanced Materials Center is to provide education, training and research that promotes the generation and application of novel sustainable and resilient materials for the benefit of our society, and this donation will be a significant step towards accomplishing that goal," said Michael Pluimer, PhD, associate professor in UMD’s Civil Engineering Department and director of the Advanced Materials Center. "This gift will help us equip and educate the next generation of scientists and engineers with the tools to push the boundaries of scientific discovery, and to create a positive and meaningful impact in our world."

The $1 million gift will span four years and annually deliver $65,000 in scholarships, $125,000 in research funding, as well as provide $60,000 into an endowment, which by the end of the lifecycle of the gift, will fund an additional $10,000 a year in scholarships, in perpetuity.

"At ADS, our reason is water, and the ADS Foundation has a vision to lead the way in preserving clean water, promoting recycling and advancing overall quality of life," said Kevin Talley, president of the ADS Foundation. "We believe that providing this gift to the AMC is another significant way we can honor our commitment to realizing this vision."

ADS recycles over half a billion pounds of plastic every year, making the organization one of the largest plastic recycling companies in North America. But the amount of materials that need to be recycled continues to expand.

"The value and understanding gained at UMD’s Advanced Materials Center, under the direction of Dr. Michael Pluimer, is critical to this process and to the future of the environment," said Talley. The AMC, through research and exploration, is equipping future scientists and engineers with the skills and knowledge they need to continue to solve for this important challenge and identify more ways to repurpose plastic waste into different formats."

The mission of the AMC is to provide leadership in interdisciplinary research, training and outreach that supports the generation and application of novel sustainable and resilient materials for the benefit of UMD students, faculty and regional industrial partners, while also conserving and protecting our natural resources for the benefit of future generations. The AMC helps support a graduate program in Applied Materials Science and Engineering that attracts students from various undergraduate disciplines in science and engineering.

"One thing that differentiates this Master’s program from other graduate programs in Materials Science is that it is applied in nature and directly connects students to the industries in which they will eventually be working," said Pluimer. "The program contains a semester-long research project where they work on a real-world materials-related problem with an industrial partner, and students who graduate from the program are prepared to make an immediate impact in the industry."

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