UCSB nonprofit group Environmental Education for the Next Generation won the Dockers “Wear the Pants” contest on Monday, May 2 and taking home the grand prize of $100,000.
EENG, founded by UCSB students in 2009 as an offshoot of an Associated Students Environmental Affairs campaign, beat four other finalists out of an applicant pool of 3,300 groups. The nonprofit teaches first and second grade students about environmental issues through interactive activities and experiments tailored to California Education Standards.
EENG, the only student-run corporation to compete in the challenge, will be featured in Dockers commercials and also receive a year’s supply of free khakis. Applicants submitted essays through Facebook explaining their business objectives and how they would use the prize money to achieve their goals. Winners were chosen based on the amount of votes accrued on the groups’ Facebook pages.
EENG Founder and Executive Director Ryland King, a third-year environmental studies major, said it was the support of fellow students that pushed the organization to victory.
“We got selected to the top five and the last round is when we all came together and won it,” King said. “I really liked how it felt like a movement to me and I am absolutely stoked about how UCSB came together to show how we can change the community.”
The EENG program is taught in 24 classrooms at 12 schools throughout Goleta and Carpentaria and plans to expand into the San Luis Obispo area. King said the cash prize will help finance the company’s educational tools and employee service fees.
“What we are going to do is have money that is going to go into classroom volunteer outreach supplies and then put money into managerial and leadership workshops and seminars to bolster our directorship,” King said. “We are also going to put some money in reasonable director stipends, basically a salary which allows our directors to give back to the community and get paid for it.”
According to EENG Director of Curriculum Hannah Wright, a UCSB alumna, winning the contest will help propel the group to spread the program beyond state borders.
“I really see it as being a program that can be adapted and manipulated to a lot of different areas of the world, and not only in the classroom,” Wright said. “It could be an after-school program, and that’s the beauty of it — there are so many different forms that it can take. The future of EENG is happening now, expanding now, touching the lives of more students and teachers.”
Wright said emerging victorious from the competition reflects the organization’s dedication to education.
“There were just so many components that were working together to help us win it and I think the driving force was the passion of the teachers and people already involved,” Wright said. “This is something that has a great potential to grow and is already affecting so many lives by enriching the lives of students and teachers.”