Evelyn Teperman ’20 decided to attend Syracuse University for the wide array of majors offered. Originally from Randolph, New Jersey, she is now a senior finishing a dual degree in advertising from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and marketing from the Martin J. Whitman School of Management. Teperman began a second major in the Whitman School as a sophomore, in hopes of developing a business background that would allow her to gain a greater overall insight into the digital media industry.
In December, Teperman was a member of the second-place team for the fall semester Whitman Capstone competition. Their business idea, ReSpice, is a wholesale spice producer that uses salvage food as the source. While brainstorming, one of Teperman’s teammates brought up salvaged food. After preliminary research on the problem of growing food waste, they realized there was ample opportunity to introduce a solution.
Dehydrating foods extends their life by at least two years, and spices are typically created through dehydrated produce. The team realized that their idea for ReSpice had the potential to not only diminish the growing epidemic of food waste in the United States but also uniquely repurpose salvage food through a simple product. The team knew that large grocery retailers regularly throw away excessive amounts of safe-to-consume foods, so they wanted their product to help sustainably alleviate the issue.
Throughout the semester, the team faced several challenges, especially in terms of logistics and operations. Teperman explains that neither she nor her teammates had any experience or prior knowledge of the wholesale food industry, so they delegated necessary tasks for each member of the team to specialize in one area of research.
“Most large grocery chains keep their food waste statistics private,” Teperman says. “So, it was difficult to understand the overall food waste epidemic from the standpoint of our target consumers. We worked through this by conducting multiple interviews from experts in the field to determine the feasibility and reality of creating a sustainable wholesale food manufacturer.”
For Teperman, the most rewarding aspect of the Capstone experience was the support her team received along the way – to see that others understood the concept of their hypothetical company and had faith in its success was very gratifying.
“The amount of research and effort my team put into ReSpice’s ideation and creation allowed me to see the true value of this business plan and that it could help mitigate food waste, if launched,” Teperman explains. “Making it to the final round of presentations emphasized our company’s validity, and proved that this semester’s endless work and effort paid off with a second-place win!”
Teperman says that the lessons she learned through teamwork and collaboration will be useful in her endeavors after graduation, as she will be a member of various teams beyond her time as a student. She is a member of The Orange Experience (OESU) synchronized skating, Alpha Phi Omega and outreach coordinator for Hillel’s Challah for Hunger. After graduation, she hopes to work in a digital media marketing role and is confident that her combined advertising and marketing management studies have prepared her well for the workforce.
“This experience truly would not have been possible without my incredible teammates,” Teperman shares. “My Capstone group was one of the best teams I have been a part of, and I am happy to have shared this incredible accomplishment with them.”
Professor and Capstone advisor, Ken Walsleben, comments that he was impressed with Teperman. A member of the Syracuse University skating team, Teperman had a competition in New York City the evening of the Capstone final round. She knew that her team would be disqualified if she did not present in the finals, so she stayed to support her Capstone team and then went to her skate competition afterwards.
Learn more about the Capstone experience and team ideas throughout the years.