Champlain College is represented at Project Green Challenge 2018 Championships

After 30 days of Project Green Challenge, where thousands of young people completed rigorous daily challenges around wide-ranging sustainability-related themes and acted upon a common passion for cultivating a healthy, just, thriving planet, 13 students were selected as PGC Finalists from 6,012 participants representing 742 high school and college campuses in the United States and 55 nations around the world. These young leaders came to the San Francisco Bay Area for the PGC Finals, a weekend of inspiration, education and mobilization including farm visits, documentary screenings, FLOSN food,  eco fashion workshops, speeches by luminaries, action platform creation and much more.
We are delighted to officially announce the Project Green Challenge 2018 Champion Lara Breithaupt, a 16-year-old junior at Bloomington High School South in Bloomington, Indiana with clear passion, depth of commitment and proactive spirit around environmental action in her community and beyond. She is the recipient of the PGC Grand Prize which includes a $5,000 Green Award from Acure Beauty, as well as an eco lifestyle package worth over $5,000 from our phenomenal partners. 2nd Place is awarded to Aradhya Seth, Team Holocoen, an 18-year-old second year at Oriental Institute of Science and Technology in Bhopal, India who champions sustainability and actively incorporates healthier, just practices. 3rd Place goes to Sophia Ludtke, a 16-year-old junior at Newark Academy in Gladstone, New Jersey who recognizes and works inclusively for both environmental and social justice.
Year after year, Project Green Challenge gives us hope and further develops the skills, intellect, knowledge and collaborative nature of a generation of environmental activists! We are honored to work with this year’s Champion and Finalists, as well as all participants and greater campus networks this school year and far into the future. Thank you all for joining us on this journey; the world needs us now more than ever!

With gratitude, respect and hope,

Turning Green Team

About the PGC Champions:

“I am really inspired to follow my passions. I have learned so much from Project Green Challenge that I cannot wait to implement for the rest of my life; this is something that will never leave me. I now know that I can be in any kind of job, in any field, studying anything and still connect it to environmental issues. There’s hope! I am excited to create a change in my community and the world through the projects I have developed and the ideas that have blossomed throughout this entire challenge.”  – Lara, PGC 2018 Champion

“We are participants today, leaders tomorrow. I learned so many things from Project Green Challenge, but if I had to sum it up: never underestimate the power of small people in small groups. They can really make a difference. PGC gave us the opportunity to participate in an arena where the political boundaries, cultural differences and racial distinctions played no role, but all were competing and learning through a process aimed at the growth, development and reinvigoration of nature. PGC is a dream come true.” – Aradhya, Team Holocoen, PGC 2018 2nd Place

“Getting the opportunity to be a part of Project Green Challenge meant transcending the day to day where it is easy for my passion for the environment to be pushed aside. PGC gave me the opportunity to think about a global context for change and all I am connected to. It has truly been the most inspiring experience of my life so far, and I am excited to go back to my community to share and act upon everything I have learned.” – Sophia, PGC 2018 3rd Place

PGC 2018 Finalists in the San Francisco Bay Area for the PGC Finals
About the PGC 2018 Finalists:

Brooke Crouch, Freshman, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
“Competing in Project Green Challenge was like being fully alive for the first time. The whole concept of educating and inspiring youth to protect the environment and fight for a more sustainable future was a wonderful one – it completely encapsulated what I wanted to do with my life! Because of Project Green Challenge, I am now majoring in Global Sustainability, as well as Youth and Social Innovation. My goal is to work in a nonprofit like Turning Green, educating and mobilizing people to live more sustainable lives and become advocates themselves. I am fundamentally changed.”

Dylan Simpson, Junior, Illinois Central College, East Peoria, IL
“30 days ago, I didn’t think about the products I used, I didn’t care if the food I ate was non-GMO or organic, and I wasn’t the most conscious about my waste. The person I am today is different. I see the big picture of making the world more sustainable, but I also see the tiny steps that have to be taken in order to achieve that and reduce our carbon footprint. I can see the difference that I’ve been making and the path that I’m paving. I’ve learned how capable I am to be an eco-hero and I’m doing what I can to be one. I found out that this is my passion and it will be my way to leave my impact on the world.”

Emma Melis, Freshman, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
“I have absorbed so much information and wisdom in such a short amount of time, and have become well-versed in issues that I’d never really researched before. Before PGC, I felt like a passionate environmentalist. Now, I’m informed and equipped with hundreds of resources to pass on to others and spread helpful messages, information, and tips and encourage environmental efforts. From PGC, I learned that it’s my vocation to study environmental sustainability. Do you know that feeling of relief when you find that everything has finally “clicked” into place? Delving deeper and deeper into the infinite well of environmental activism this month has shown me that this is my life’s calling — to be a steward of the planet in whatever and all ways I can.”

Jasmine Bylander, Freshman, University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, MO 
“PGC has changed me in so many ways. I have changed my diet, my daily routine, how I shop, basically the way I live my life. Before PGC I had thought I was living a pretty green life. I grew my own food, shopped second hand, used reusable containers and water bottles, and recycled. Everything I thought would make me an earth-friendly person, little did I know that there was so much more that I didn’t know, that I could do. I am so much more powerful than I thought. I have the power to impact people, shift views and teach them how to take care of our home. I gained the confidence to share my views and urge others to follow. I found something I am passionate about and something I want to pursue more. I learned that I am not weak, that I am not quiet, and that I am not bored or clueless, I just never found the right thing for me.”

Lara Breithaupt, Junior, Bloomington High School South, Bloomington, IN
“One of the most memorable PGC experiences that I had was my talk on the Justice of Climate Change. I was able to step in my class as a student leader and provoke meaningful discussion among my peers. This challenge to talk in front of other people about an issue that is very important to me was in the beginning very nerve-racking. However, once I saw that people were responding well and participating in the discussion and activity, I was able to see that my hard work paid off, making me feel more calm and accomplished. My AP Environmental Science teacher made her event for the day opened only to students who wanted to come to my presentation. I was not expecting the room to be completely filled. It was so incredible to see person after person walk into the room to listen to me talk. This was the first big presentation that I had ever given, so it was very reassuring to see that I had so much support.”

Morgan Bliss, Freshman, McDaniel College, Westminster, MD
“Most obviously, the knowledge I’ve acquired in the past 30 days easily translates to my environmental science and political science classes, offering a more in-depth and personal perspective than most textbooks. I want to educate people. One person can start a movement, but I don’t want to do this alone, to feel as if I am the sole bearer of knowledge in my community of peers. So I’ll share it. I plan to first pick an area of focus that I’m most passionate in to narrow my own additional research and information so I don’t drone on too long, design a presentation, then get the necessary permissions and campus-based knowledge to actually present, and inspire others in a subject the same way PGC has inspired me. Around this, I plan to vote, and I plan to continue writing letters to politicians, and working with/supporting relevant movements to make sure my voice is heard. I will not be erased, and as I grow into my shoes as a changemaker myself, I’ll ensure that the ones who seem to be really making decisions for the nature know what we want – an actually livable planet to thrive on.”

Grayson Lippert, Senior, Tacoma Science and Math Institute, Tacoma, WA
“30 days ago, I would have never dreamed of making a change in the world around me. 30 days ago, I believed that my lifestyle was good enough for me and the world around me. But now, I realize that perfection is impossible, but progress is always possible. I have been taking a more active role in my own life, making conscious decisions about what I’m buying, wearing and supporting. I’ve learned that I’ve let myself “go” in a way. By reigning in my self-control, I have become healthier, and more environmentally conscious, PGC has truly changed my life.”

Sophia Ludtke, Junior, Newark Academy, Gladstone, NJ
“Overall, PGC has been such a validating, even life-affirming experience. With each and every daily challenge, I began to feel more and more a part of a greater community of like-minded people and it is just such a great feeling to finally realize that. Following the work of the other PGC participants through the “winners” tab each day and hearing the other participants express their enthusiasm and passion for the environment through the PGC Facebook page really cemented for me the idea that so many people from so many different corners of the world care so much about the very same issues I do. I think this realization was probably the most impactful part of my whole PGC experience. Being in this kind of community motivated and pushed me to work that much harder and to think that much more deeply.”

Sunny Bitner, Junior, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
“I will continue my education through at least finishing my bachelors in environmental studies, and I hope to go to graduate school in order to attain an even higher degree pertaining to environmentalism. I don’t exactly know what my career goals are, but I have learned through PGC that my calling is to work and advocate for the environment. I will dedicate my life to protecting our planet in whatever way I can do best. This might be through policy making, through conservation efforts, through education, or something else. Regardless, I will show this love for our environment through my future career, my purchases, my personal choices, and with my vote. Fighting for clean air and water, for recycling and composting, for Fair Trade, for renewable energy, for sustainable agriculture- you name it. If it helps the environment, I want in.”

Team Champlain Eco Queens (Hansel Carter IV, Margaret Woodman, Zoe Caron) Champlain College, Burlington, VT 
“After taking this challenge, I learned just how much I can do to change the issues I encounter in my community. Problems that may seem impossible to solve such as getting a business to stop using plastic straws can be as simple as having a conversation with them about their effect on the environment, cost, and logical issues that may arise with change. I’ve am also more connected to social issues not just in my community but around the world. I find myself more and more bringing topics into daily conversation whether its something as small as telling a friend a styrofoam cup is bad for the environment or bringing up examples of water scarcity and poverty in India in my Global Condition class when relative to the conversation. I learned I can be more involved and active in my community and that the small steps I take towards achieving goals like these go a long way!”

Team Green Girls (Nawal Gaal, Sophie Moniz), TC Williams High School, Alexandria, VA “In the near future, I see myself holding assemblies at my school and in local centers. Spreading the word about living green is the first step in people changing their lifestyles. A bigger goal of mine is to implement sustainable practices in my school. If the youth are already practicing going green, they will continue to do that in the future, and hopefully pass it on. I want to get my school an actual recycling program, a composting program, and switch to organic and non- GMO food. I also want the school to get rid of the awful Styrofoam plates and plastic utensils, and use reusable and washable ones. We will cut back on so much waste and promote a healthier lifestyle.”

Team Holocoen (Aradhya Seth, Akshita Joshi, Anadi Mandloi, Bhupinder Singh), Oriental Institute of Science and Technology, Bhopal, India
“Promoting ACT, REACT, IMPACT: Our negligent and laid back attitude as citizens has landed us into this abysmal state so encouraging action is of the utmost significance. Think globally, act locally. Voice your opinions, act on your words because you are your own warrior as well as savior. Fight against what’s wrong and support what’s right.”

Team Nature Nerds (Alice Chen, Jennifer Lin, Joanne Li, Richard Ren), Jericho High School, Jericho, NY
“As we look back, we see how far we have come from those four unconscious kids, to four sustainable game changers. Through PGC we have learned to educate ourselves, educate others, and mobilize for action on important environmental issues, creating an impact and paving the way for a sustainable world. From learning about our school’s energy sources, worker conditions in the fashion industry, and overall statistics about how our world is being affected by climate change, we all feel a greater sense of urgency and motivation in protecting our environment. We’ve all learned about our personal impacts on the environment, such as our carbon footprints and how our individual habits (such as the type of shampoo we use) affect our health and the environment.”

About the PGC 2018 Finals
The PGC 2018 Finals culminate in the selection of the Project Green Challenge 2018 Champion by a panel of judges. The champion wins a Grand Prize package valued at more than $10,000, including: a $5,000 Green Award from Acure Beauty

About Project Green Challenge
Since its inception 8 years ago, PGC has engaged more than 40,000 participants, from all 50 states, 102 countries, and more than 4,000 campuses. Indirectly this initiative has reached 24.2 million humans all over our planet.

About Turning Green
Turning Green (TG) is a student led global movement devoted to education and advocacy around environmentally sustainable and socially responsible choices for individuals, schools, and communities. TG seeks to engage youth in the transition from conventional to conscious living, empowering this generation and mobilizing action to sustain a healthy, just and thriving planet. What began in California in 2005 now has a presence at elementary, middle and high schools, universities, and student organizations across the United States, and around the world as well as a strong virtual platform and social media presence. Chapters globally lead grassroots efforts that aim to raise awareness, encourage behavioral change, and lobby for policy that will lessen our collective global impact.

Project Green Challenge 2018 Partners
Turning Green partners with brands and organizations that share a commitment to health, transparency, and environmental responsibility. Project Green Challenge is made possible by the generous support of the followingcorporate partners: Acure Beauty, Cavallo Point Lodge, Clif Bar, Dr. Bronner’s, Natracare, Klean Kanteen, Annie’s Homegrown, Guayaki Yerba Mate, Amy’s, ChicoBag, Equator Coffee, Everyone, Good Earth Natural Foods, Navitas Organics, Numi Organic Tea, RW Garcia, Simply Organic, U-Konserve, Urban Remedy non-profit partners: The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Center for Food Safety, Conservation International, Drawdown, Fair Trade Campaigns, Fibershed, 5 Gyres Institute, Friends of the Earth, Global Footprint Network, GMO Inside, GRACE Communications Foundation, Green America, Kiss the Ground, Lonely Whale, Made Safe, Non-GMO Project, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Rainforest Alliance, Rock the Vote, Rodale Institute, Save the Food, Story of Stuff, The Organic Center, US Right to Know, Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE), media partners: Daily Climate, Environmental Health News, Food Tank, Going Green with a Bronner Mom

Special thanks to our partners