Environmental Education for the Next Generation, a nonprofit student organization founded by undergraduates at UCSB, will compete for a $100,000 grant next month to secure funding that would expand its efforts.
Club founder and Executive Director Ryland King, a third-year environmental studies major, is entering the Dockers “Wear the Pants Project” contest in hopes of winning the $100,000 prize — awarded to the person who presents the best aspiration and strategy for accomplishing a life ambition. Entrants must submit a plan of action to the company’s Facebook page by March 15.
If he wins the contest, King said, EENG would use the prize money to finance training, certification, transportation as well as purchase new classroom and volunteer supplies for its Santa Barbara chapter and help develop the club’s division at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
According to Hannah Wright, a UCSB alumna and EENG’s director of curriculum, the organization could potentially win the contest because it generates unique benefits to the community.
“When you look around, you don’t see any other programs like [EENG],” Wright said. “We have almost 50 college student instructors who take the time out of their busy [schedules] to teach kids about the environment. This proves that this program has so much potential. It also creates a mentor relationship between the [elementary and college] students. It’s a symbiotic relationship where everyone wins.”
EENG was officially established in August 2009, stemming from an A.S. Environmental Affairs educational campaign. That initial movement, King said, allowed members to educate second-grade students at Isla Vista Elementary School about sustainable issues.
“I saw it as mutual benefits between myself and the kids in classrooms,” King said. “I noticed that, not only were the children we were teaching benefiting [from our lessons], but I was also benefiting from public speaking, networking, etc.”
The following year, the EENG program expanded to eight classrooms in 14 elementary schools. Today, EENG student instructors visit 24 first and second-grade classrooms in Santa Barbara County on a weekly basis, to teach courses about natural resources and conservation.
According to EENG Social Media Coordinator Kai Hinson, a fourth-year global studies major, the SLO project — set to operate by Fall Quarter 2011 — will serve as a pilot program from which to base their expansion.
“Part of [EENG’s] dream is to expand statewide,” Hinson said. “San Luis Obispo is in the process of creating a chapter and in each [additional future] location, coordinators will need materials to teach in the classroom. This extra funding [would] add to the quality of the program.”
The first 500 people to enter the contest will receive a free pair of Dockers khakis, while the winner will also receive a free year’s supply of khakis.
Voting will occur online from April 25 to May 1 and the winner will be announced May 2.
To vote for EENG, log on to http://apps.facebook.com/dockerswearthepants/entries/18011 or contact EENG at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved in the program.