Project Focus


The goal of this project was to collaborate with Blue Sky to form a more sustainable business model. Sustainability is the pursuit of a long-lasting, positive impact that can be achieved through environmental service, economic opportunity, and social justice. Our objectives were to:

  • Develop an understanding of Blue Sky’s recycling operations;
  • Work with Blue Sky to identify opportunities for change
  • Cooperatively design and implement a mechanical hoist for their pickup needs
  • Develop a phone application to better organize and facilitate on-site finances, and
  • Rebranding Blue Sky’s name with visible logos, flyers, and website updates” 


To accomplish our objectives, we conducted field observations and interviews with our liaisons, Blue Sky pickers, and yard employees. This knowledge was the foundation for our Process Analysis that helped identify inefficiencies and potential solutions to be addressed later on.  We regularly brainstormed ideas that were shared, edited, and planned with Blue Sky’s staff. Each step of our progress was discussed and approved in weekly meetings to ensure transparency on both ends.

Working in Philippi

Our project team had the opportunity to work with a motivated recycling business in Philippi as they wished to improve themselves for the betterment of the communities they served. We came across some blunders we did not account for in our preparatory phase that were quite overwhelming at some points. With the help of our liaisons and co-advisor, we were able to move past these roadblocks as one unit and collectively establish all of the previously set outcomes and more.


Due to the lack of information about Blue Sky Recycling available online and the difficulties of maintaining constant contact, our group expected similar problems with obtaining information. However, this was not the case. Our liaisons were extremely open and enlightening, instructing us on how their processes were taking place and allowing us to go out in the field with them to experience the pickup process.

WPI’s Opportunity

It was clear to us that there was enormous potential for growth within the business as our liaisons were incredibly enthusiastic about having us there to work with them. One thing we had to be cautious of was making sure that we did not take on more small projects than we could handle. As a group, we wanted to be sure that we could leave Blue Sky with something tangible and not a mess of intangible chaos for them to clean up.  Collectively, our team, co-advisor, and liaisons felt that our dedication, preparation, and creativity would blend together to lift Blue Sky higher as a pillar within the communities it serves.

Shared Action Learning

The approach, developed by Professors Jiusto, Hersh, and Taylor in 2011, is one that was utilized throughout our project in order to connect, collaborate, and accomplish the goals determined by both parties. Shared Action Learning incorporates a cyclic process that includes observation, planning, acting, and reflecting to confront dilemmas and come up with ideal solutions as a collective unit. Learn more here.