Team:KoreaSonyeodul/Public Outreach

Public Outreach

All Human Practices


Our project aimed to find a solution in environmental issues, particularly focusing on plastic wastes. The solution we were able to find was “mealworms”. By figuring out a mechanism that enables mealworms to degrade not only Styrofoam but also PET, we progressed our project, focusing on environmental issues with different public engagements. Through different means of approaching the public, such as campaigns, fundings, lectures and et cetera, we stressed the importance of acknowledging such problems and our project itself.


“La Sociedad Espanola de Honor de HAFS' article”
On Hankuk Academy of Foreign Studies’ official Spanish News website, one of our members posted an article about the mealworms’ digestion mechanism and the potential effect on Earth. The news website is highly accessible which allowed people from other parts of the world, including the Hispanics, could also get informed about the bio-degradability of mealworms. Also, the newspaper is printed and distributed to Hankuk Academy of Foreign Studies making the information more accessible to the students in our school.


HAFS (HANKUK ACADEMY OF FOREIGN STUDIES) English newspaper club, Harbinger, interviewed Koreasonyeodul on October 3, 2016. They asked general questions about the competition and asked about any difficulties we encountered. The newspaper with the interview will be printed and distributed in October 15, 2016 with our team’s picture in it. Following is the link to the online website of Harbinger.


Children are becoming the leading members of the society in the future, thus our team felt the necessity of alarming the students about the negative impact of plastic on environment and the solution to the problem: mealworms. Our team requested an educational institute for the gifted in Hankuk University of Foreign Studies to give a lecture to the students about the deleteriousness of plastic and the bacteria. As a result, about twenty students participated in the lecture in September 3rd. Two of our team members made the lecture, mainly introducing the mechanism of mealworm decomposing plastic. We showed and explained the mechanism of mealworms’ digesting polystyrene. In addition, we offered the students the opportunity to touch and observe meal-worms.


The first thing that came to our team’s mind after pondering about how we should apply our project to the real world was campaign. The idea of our campaign was simple: "to make people become aware of the situation." Our team designed two steps to further elaborate the plan. Regarding that we all lived in dormitory, the sphere of activity was confined to our school. The first plan required participation of our school’s students. For three trash baskets in our school, we indicated a different basket only for plastic. After two weeks, our teammates gathered every plastic basket that we put and sorted the trash just in case there were wastes other than plastic. The image below is the how the waste baskets looked when we put it together.

After we were done sorting, we packed plastics for our next step.

The next step was the crux of our campaign. For our project of IGEM fundamentally aimed for seeking ways to save the environment, we designed our next step to appeal to many students as possible of our project. We believed environment was something that all people should be concerned with. Our team created posters that showed the dire situation of ocean wastes such as Great Pacific Garbage Patch. To visualize, we placed the plastics that we gathered on an open space of our school. Students were able to see what we were doing and our team explained to the students of our project.

The first campaign was successful in starting our project with participation of many students. We believe the essence of was in making people aware of the situation. Our team hopes this campaign will be a starting point for contributing further to any environmental activities.


Our team made a poster about our project to introduce it to students in Hankuk Academy of Foreign Studies on July. RCNP is one of our school’s curriculum where students can participate in presenting their research on any topic they preferred. We exhibited our work in the main hallway of the school so that various school members including Humanities and Natural Science course students could see it. Our poster contained information about mealworms, bacterias inside of mealworms, and activities of what we did(campaigns, mini forums, visiting Korea University). The poster we created is shown below.


Funding was a vital factor in sustaining our project; there was many restraints that our team had as high school students. Among various human practices that we progressed throughout several months, funding was one of the most important gains that we had. One of the most obvious means to engage the public in the project was funding: a mean for the public to directly support us. Our team searched for few websites that could provide us an opportunity to let public know of our project, and fund us if they were interested in it. Tumblbug provided us a chance to present our project to the public. For this, we appealed to the public by stressing what good deeds we are doing to the environment, by creating a better system of plastic degrading through bioengineering. The result of the funding surely indicated that many people were engaged in our project, and wanted to be a part of it; the first day we launched our funding, over $1,000 was funded which was over our final goal. Our funding project was shared over Facebook and twitter for about 200 times. There were also comments that gave supporting messages. Not only did our team engage in funding, but we also gained support from companies who were interested in our project. OCI, one of the leading companies in promoting green energy and chemical technologies, lend a hand to be our sponsor in funding, and also providing a laboratory in Sungnam-Si whenever we need a place to conduct an experiment.


Team KoreaSonyeodul has a Facebook pagewhere we put informations of our project such as campaigns. We thought Facebook might be a useful tool to reach public directly and fastly.

Twitteralso was another tool used to engage with another IGEM teams and to reach the public.