Hillsdale stu­dents recently par­tic­i­pated in the Western Michigan Project Man­agement Insti­tute’s THE Project. Facebook.

Hillsdale College’s two teams came in second place in their respective divi­sions on Monday at THE­P­roject, a col­le­giate project-man­agement com­pe­tition spon­sored by the Western Michigan Project Man­agement Institute.

Nine Hillsdale stu­dents made the trek to the Grand Rapids area to present their solu­tions to mal­nu­trition in poorer areas of Michigan through com­munity farming. Judges scored teams from seven Michigan uni­ver­sities on the quality of their pre­sen­ta­tions and solu­tions as well as their use of proper project-man­agement tech­niques. Michigan Tech­no­logical Uni­versity took first place.

“The scores were all very tight,” Assistant Pro­fessor of Man­agement Douglas Johnson said. “I think it was a coin flip as to who went on to the finals.”

Last year, Hillsdale’s team took first place at THE­P­roject, winning $5,000 for the team members and an addi­tional $5,000 for the college.

“I think people are learning from us,” Johnson said. “I sat and I watched all of the finalist teams present, and I think our team was as good as anybody that went to the finals.”

Both of Hillsdale’s teams pre­sented unique solu­tions to the problem of mal­nu­trition in Michigan. One group focused on Kalkaska County, near Tra­verse City in Northern Michigan. The USDA has iden­tified Kalkaska County as a food desert, meaning people living in the county have a limited access to healthful and fresh foods because of a lack of quality grocery stores.

“The team wanted to establish a com­munity farm in Kalkaska County that would not only service the local com­munity but also sell produce to the farm-to-table tourist restau­rants in Tra­verse City,” Johnson said.

Hillsdale’s other team pre­sented its idea of cre­ating an app that would allow com­munity farms to market their products and ser­vices as well as allow farms to share their expertise with people who might want to access those com­munity farms.

The par­tic­i­pating stu­dents reg­is­tered for a three-credit, 400-level course on project man­agement to prepare for THE­P­roject. Monday’s pre­sen­ta­tions were the cul­mi­nation of three months of work beginning a week before the semester started.

“Offi­cially, that was their final,” Johnson said. “Things just didn’t go our way this time. They may have gotten tired of us winning.”