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Climate solutions worth $50,000 in prizes for students

November 19, 2008

Organizers of a new Climate Leadership Challenge at UW–Madison are seeking the best and brightest ideas from the student body to promote an environmentally sustainable future. They hope the contest will unleash a burst of youthful brainstorming and entrepreneurship across campus.

It is hoped the challenge will provide fresh ideas to generate clean energy, produce green products, persuade people to adopt more earth-friendly lifestyles, or ease the impacts of climate change in some other way.

Submissions must come from UW–Madison students or student teams. There will be rewards of $20,000 for the best overall project and up to $30,000 in additional prizes to be shared by other top finishers. The submission deadline is Friday, April 10.

An informational meeting about the Climate Leadership Challenge will be held at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3, in 140 Science Hall. Free pizza will be served.

The initiative is supported by a grant to SAGE — part of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies — from the Global Stewardship Society.

Submissions may be state-oriented, national or international in scale and must include detailed implementation plans. A panel of judges with academic and professional backgrounds will review all entries and invite finalists to present their ideas during the Nelson Institute’s annual Earth Day conference at Madison’s Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center on April 22. Prize winners will be announced that day.

Ideas for the Climate Leadership Challenge, if appropriate, also may be submitted to the Wisconsin School of Business’s G. Steven Burrill Business Plan Competition and vice versa. The annual Burrill contest encourages teams of UW–Madison students to compete for cash prizes and includes a special award from the Nelson Institute for the best “green” business plan.

For more information, visit or contact Josh Ghena at