Office of the President helps launch 2020 Sustainability Challenges

Prizes to be awarded for innovations
By Staff

President's Sustainable Solutions Challenge

The Office of the President has provided funding to encourage the development of sustainability innovations by CU students for their campuses and communities in spring 2020.

Two competition series will reward students for their sustainability innovations: the Sustainable Solutions Challenge, and the addition of a sustainability special prize to CU Boulder’s New Venture Challenge entrepreneurial accelerator.

“CU is a leader in sustainability, so it’s natural to have our best and brightest students compete with their great ideas,” said CU President Mark Kennedy. “I’m confident we’re going to see some impressive and innovative suggestions.”

The President’s Sustainable Solutions Challenge (PSSC) will be a two-part event culminating in the President’s Sustainable Solution grand prize of $2,000, awarded at the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, April 22. The PSSC will award a prize of $1,000 to one team from each campus as the first round of the challenge. The top two teams from each campus will advance to compete for the grand prize.

For the competition, students (as individuals or teams) are invited to develop multidisciplinary approaches that result in short-pitch presentations that describe proposed sustainability initiatives to address environmental quality, natural resource use, and social justice with economic longevity on a CU campus or through the CU system.

Qualifying teams will present their ideas to a panel of judges in both rounds and will be evaluated on anticipated impact, innovation in addressing a sustainability issue and the feasibility of the idea. Prize funding will be directed toward the individual or teams and not to project implementation. All proposals will be shared with appropriate campus units for consideration for potential implementation. 

Students may register anytime between Jan. 29 and March 9. Each campus will host an information session in February and a proposal workshop in March. Proposal submissions are due in early April and the top 20 proposals will advance to the campus-level first stage pitch competitions.

For information on the President’s Sustainable Solutions Challenge, visit

The Office of the President also will fund the first special prize for sustainability in CU Boulder’s New Venture Challenge. This series is focused on promoting innovation for sustainability outside of campus through the creation of a new business or social enterprise. The $1,500 NVC Sustainability Special Prize will be awarded in March. All NVC participants are developing entrepreneurial ideas and competing for a $100,000 grand prize in April. More info: