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Engineering Students Win With Online Game

May 17, 2008 - A team of Ohio University engineering and technology students won an honorable mention from the Environmental Protection Agency for their online environmental game designed to improve public awareness of chemical exposure, the university announced.

The Russ College of Engineering and Technology students competed in the 4th Annual National Sustainable Design Expo from April 20-22 at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Nearly 60 teams represented colleges and universities across America.

The Chemical Exposure Awareness Game, funded by a $10,000 EPA grant, is played in the online virtual world Second Life. Modeled on Monopoly, the game exposes players to various daily chemicals to teach positive and negative effects. Players also are encouraged to strive for more sustainable lifestyles.

The expo was the second phase of the EPA's People, Prosperity and the Planet, P3, competition.The first phase, for which the team won the grant, asked teams to demonstrate how they planned to research and develop innovative designs to address challenges to sustainability.

Associate Professor of Computer Science Chang Liu and Professor of Civil Engineering Tiao Chang led students Ying Zhong, Yanhui Fang, En Ye and Jourdan Siemer in developing the game.

"Our team was the only computer game to compete in the expo," Zhong said in an OU news release. "Our game was very popular at the expo, especially with children."

"Students waited in lines to play our P3 game," Liu said. "I think this was evidence that our team had made progress toward the goal of improving chemical awareness though engaging programming."

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