Each year, the Wood Enterprise Institute (WEI), a student-run entrepreneurial venture, uses a concept-to-market business approach to plan, design, manufacture, sell, and distribute a product, such as wooden coasters, cuttings boards, and bookends. This year’s team has taken on an ambitious challenge. They acquired a 314-year-old white oak tree, which had succumbed to disease, from the Grove, the Virginia Tech president’s residence. The team plans to design and craft three or four custom tables, each of which will highlight a date in the tree’s history, identified by its growth rings, and correspond that date to a significant historical event, such as the founding of Virginia Tech in 1872.

The group plans to auction the tables for a minimum of $2,500 each. The profits generated will be donated to the Virginia Tech community to help support historical preservation and urban forest sustainability programs. Visit www.vtwei.com for more information on this unique effort and to track the team’s progress throughout the spring semester.