Carbon Reduction Challenge

For students

Get resources for your carbon reduction project.

Resources

Are you participating in the Carbon Reduction Challenge Summer 2021? Check out our Resources page for docs and videos  to help you with your project.

Help organizations create a more sustainable "business-as-usual"

Gather data on effective low-carbon work behaviors, and build a business case for how your organization can support them in order to curb their CO2 emissions and save money.

Stand out at your internship or co-op

Take on a self-driven project alongside your internship or co-op, meet more people at your organization, and make a great impression to your colleagues.

Win up to $2000 in cash prizes

Present your project at a competition at the end of the summer, and compete for cash prizes.

How it works

The Carbon Reduction Challenge is a summer program that runs from May to August 2021.

  1.  Apply for the Carbon Reduction Challenge
    All you need to do is fill out this form by 8pm on Friday, May 22. We’ll get back in touch with you shortly after.

  2. Learn about the drivers of climate change
    We’ll run an orientation at the beginning of the summer where we’ll teach you about the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions and simple ways you can have an impact in curbing those emissions.

  3. Develop a carbon reduction project
    You’ll work with stakeholders at your organization to identify a project that can reduce CO2 emissions while saving money.

  4. Receive regular feedback
    You’ll have check-ins with Georgia Tech faculty experts who can help you make progress on your project. We’ll also update this page with resources such as examples on how to calculate CO2 emissions and cost savings.

  5. Submit a final report to your organization
    You’ll write up your calculations and recommendations as a report and submit it to your organization so that they can consider implementing them. We’ll provide you with a template for this report.

  6. Compete for cash prizes at Georgia Tech
    We’ll organize a final competition where you can present your project and compete for thousands of dollars in cash prizes.
"When I was interviewing [for jobs], ... I was only asked about the Carbon Reduction Challenge, my experience, how I did the calculations, how I tried to get the projects off the ground. It helped me get my job for my next summer."
Casey Erb
Casey Erb
Georgia Tech Environmental Engineering '20

FAQ

The Carbon Reduction Challenge offers many benefits that will increase your to employability and deliver valuable skills in project management. Key benefits include:

  • Carbon literacy skills that will help you succeed as a professional in a carbon-constrained economy
    Calculation of economic benefits/return on investment for carbon reduction strategies
    Practice in being a “sustainability ambassador” no matter your formal role in a company
    Learn how to shepherd a project from ideation to implementation in the context of large, complex organizations
    Learn how be effective and efficient in team collaborations
    Hone your professional communication and pitch skills
    Network with key stakeholders across the public and private sectors at an end-of-challenge poster expo

There’s really not any downside to participating in the Carbon Reduction Challenge – it’s a relatively low time commitment, it’s a good learning opportunity, it helps you make a good impression and build relationships with others at your company. You’ll also develop a good sense for understanding where carbon emissions can be reduced in the workplace. And if your project gets implemented, you’re having a real impact as well a chance to win thousands of dollars in prize money!

Any undergraduate or graduate student can join the Challenge! All majors/departments are welcome. We have worked with students from Georgia Tech, Emory, Agnes Scott, Kennesaw State, and more. There are also ways to participate remotely.

No. We have had students successfully participate remotely, while based in other states. There are no specific requirements for in-person meetings/appearances. We have even printed out posters to present in the final poster expo on behalf of students who participated remotely. Such students are fully eligible for prizes.

No, you can participate without a formal co-op or internship placement. In this case, you would identify an organization to work with in developing and implementing a carbon reduction plan. Such organizations may include a local school, church, small business, your parent’s place of work, a lab at your school, etc.

The Carbon Reduction Challenge is a self-driven project that you conduct in addition to your main internship at an organization. It is an opportunity for you to plan your own project, gather the information you need, connect with colleagues who can help you, and make your case to your organization of why they should implement it.

We will provide an orientation on drivers of climate change and basics of sustainable business as well as resources on this website to help you with your project. We are also available throughout the summer to answer questions and give general advice.

The Challenge lasts 3 months, and students spend about four hours per week on their project, noting that some weeks will require more effort and some less.

If you are interested in participating, our staff would reach out to the relevant persons at your place of employment/internship with information about the Challenge, your expected time commitment, and benefits for the organization (which include financial benefits). Eventually, your employer would need to agree to your participation. Thus far, all employers have been enthusiastic to sign on as partners in the program. See the full list of benefits to participating organizations here.

The Challenge is conducted from mid May to early August, designed to match the length of the average 1-semester co-op or internship duration.

This is your choice. We have had many amazing projects spearheaded by a single student. However, we recommend finding at least one other person to work with to share the workload. If you are interested in participating in the Challenge, we can help you to identify other students at your company who might be interested in forming a team.

We award cash prizes to the top three projects:

  • $2,000 for first place
    $1,000 for second place
    $500 for third place

Got a question?