The FilterForGood Eco-Challenge will award $1,000 to 50 students who submit groundbreaking green project ideas.
Participants are required to explain in 150 words why their action-based green initiative will produce palpable change in the environment. The propositions will be judged on multiple criteria, including learning impact, creativity, environmental benefit and use of time and money.
The nationwide contest — sponsored by Brita water filter company — will conclude on Nov. 19.
According to Emily Chapman, the consumer-marketing representative for the Eco-Challenge, the program has been extremely successful in inspiring students to be proactive.
“Since 2008, past recipients have received $100,000 worth of eco-grants to fund programs that made significant changes to their schools’ environmental impact,” Chapman said. “For example, students at University of California Berkeley developed a sustainable food guide for the local community… and undergrads at Davidson College in Davidson, North California installed eco-friendly gym equipment that produces energy to power lights, laptops and other essentials in the campus Union.”
Aside from offering additional grants, Chapman said this year’s campaign will also attract more participants because it has expanded its eligibility requirements.
“This year, Brita expanded the program by opening it up to students, teachers and schools from kindergarten to college,” Chapman said. “And, previously Brita gave away fewer grants … but this year 50 grants worth $1,000 each will be given out, allowing for more schools to reap the benefits of environmental initiatives.”
Ryland King, third-year environmental science major and founder and executive director of Environmental Education for the Next Generation — a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading environmental awareness to youth in the early stages of their educational development — said the contest makes environmental issues more readily available to students.
“I definitely think it is a positive thing for students,” King said. “Anything that raises awareness [and] basically empowers someone to go out and create a sustainable thing to empower the youth is great.”
Additionally, King said the contest causes the winner’s campus and community to become more sustainable.
“I think 1,000 bucks is a little bit of money that could make a big difference for the Santa Barbara community,” King said. “I think it is good college students are getting the funds to be able to have a budget to play with and understand how to use the funds in the most effective and positive way possible. It is a good skill to have once we graduate and have to use these skills in the real world where we can make a difference.”
Additionally, Camille Collett, a third-year geology major, said the Eco-Challenge awards the people who pose effective, creative and intelligent environmental solutions.
“The challenge allows students to open their minds to helping our planet,” Collett said. “It also enables them to take things they have possibly learned in classes and put them to real world situations.”