2017 DC Climathon: Resilience

Congratulations to the winners of DC Climathon 2017: Power to the People

See what DC Climathon at GW is all about:

Learn about the October 27th event

Learn about the December 8th event






On December 8, Climathon semi-finalists pitched their final proposals to a panel of expert judges who will announce the winning idea of 2017 DC Climathon at GW. 

Leading up to December 8

Semi-finalist teams refined their ideas and wrote feasibility analyses to present on December 8th during the final DC Climathon event.

Each team will attend meetings and workshops with coaches who are experts in business and climate resilience, GW MBA consultng students, and a community engagement advisor from the local environmental and community-focused non-profit, Groundwork DC. Entrepreneurs and winners of Shark Tank, Felix Lloyd and Jordan Lloyd Bookey, will help teams practice their final pitches. 

Proposals will be evaluated on how well they address the Climathon 2017 Challenge, the feasability of their project, accountability, and social and environmental impact. 

The team of judges includes:

Jordan Lloyd Bookey, Beanstack

Daron Coates, Think Box

Dwane Jones, Center for Sustainable Development & Resilience at UDC

Nate Hurst, Hewlett Packard, Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer

December 8

Watch semifinalists give their Final Pitches on Friday, December 8th, meet the judges (one of whom was a past winner of Shark Tank!), and learn more about the winning projects. Register here.

After December 8

The winning team will advance to Round 3 of the GW New Venture Competition where they will compete for $200,000 in prizes to implement their idea. 


On October 27th in Washington, D.C., teams of student innovators and technical experts joined together on GW's campus to solve one of the biggest problems facing the world today: urban climate resilience. 


Team members spent 24 hours developping their ideas, collaborating with local experts, and presenting their proposals to a team of judges. (They also slept, ate, practiced yoga, and networked, too!) 

Climathon is an annual competition for developers, students, entrepreneurs, and technical and non-technical experts who want to create new solutions to solve problems relating to climate change on a local and global scale. The best solutions will win prizes and get the chance to enter the GW New Venture Competition. All teams can win up to $10,000 in cash prizes, get the possibility to present the idea to city officials and will receive various goodies.

Meet the teams

Team Power to the People -- 1st PLACE WINNER


The problem: Traditional energy sources pose both environmental and financial problems for many communties. Underserved communities also have high unemployment rates and are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as heat waves and floods. 

Their solution: A community program that works closely with nonprofits to provide skills training to underserved communities and provide a capable workforce for the ESCOs, while also increasing the market share of the Innovating companies. This will in turn significantly reduce energy demand and increases climate resiliency.

Team Mesh -- 2nd PLACE WINNER


The problem: During climate-related disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and fires, community members often lose contact with each other when power lines are down. Not being able to communiate can be dangerous and even fatal when disaster strikes, especially for vulnerable populations, like people with disabilities, that may need medical attention. 

Their solution: Create a mesh network or small FM enabled devices for decentralized communication in the event of a natural disaster.

Team Chill - 3rd PLACE WINNER


The problem: In a climate-related event, such as a flood or fire, EMS responses are often hindered by a lack of emergency communication infrastructure

Their solution: To build a network that will connect residents in climate emergency situations with walkie-talkies. 

Team Garden of Feedin'


The problem: Urban communities that struggle with food insecurity are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and weather. One of the main issues surrounding ecological resilience is mitigating stormwater issues of flooding and runoff. 

Their solution: Build a Community garden that encompasses stormwater retention and community gardening while addressing food insecurity and food deserts, homelessness and unemployment, and access to public lands.

Team All's Well

all well

The problem: In an environmental crisis, we worry if our family, friends & neighbors are safe. 

Their solution: To create an app to check in with loved ones when all other communication infrastructure fails.

The Challenge

The Washington D.C. Department of Energy & Environment and the George Washington University (GW) Office of Sustainability are calling for your innovative ideas and solutions to our pressing climate change challenge:

Hack Resilience

By 2100, the average U.S. temperature is projected to increase between 3°–12°F. Local institutions face intense changes that impact the spread of disease, freshwater supply, ability to grow crops, species extinction, and damage to infrastructure. Communities need to mitigate the warming and prepare for the pending changes.

The solutions should focus on:

  • Preparing District residents for emerging impacts and future impacts such as urban heat island effect, extreme weather events, and increased flooding. Participants will focus on elderly, low-income, and populations with access and/or functional needs.

  • Deployment—enable grassroots/community-based creation and involvement including social capital and community building, neighborhood-led infrastructure, and communication methods and connectivity.

Climathon Partners

The George Washington University (GW) Office of Sustainability has formed a partnership with key stakeholders across the public and private sectors to create DC Climathon, a timely initiative that cultivates top talent to develop the innovation pipeline for these issues. 

Partners include the European Union Enterprise for Innovation & Technology Climate-KIC, Washington, D.C.’s Department of Energy & Environment, and GW’s School of Business Institute for Corporate Responsibility, Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Honey Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service. DC Climathon augments traditional educational offerings to develop leaders and create positive change within the local community, start-ups, and the public and private sectors.