With a campus located four blocks from the White House and adjacent to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, it would be easy for GW students to continually think on a national and international scale, forgetting that there are communities right next door experiencing their share of urban social and environmental challenges. Our Eco-Equity Challenge Program aims to help undergraduate and graduate students connect with underserved residents of Washington, D.C., to share their skills and find solutions to environmental and social justice issues.
In 2015, GWs Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service and Office of Sustainability partnered with Siemens Industry, Inc. Building Technologies Division to launch the program. Applicants must develop their projects in collaboration with one or more community partners, and be supported by a faculty member. GW student entrepreneurs receive funds, training, and mentoring from Sustainability and the Nashman Center to implement their projects. To qualify, projects must also raise awareness within the GW community about environmental or climate justice. The program links students to the broader community, helping build their understanding of challenges in an urban environment — and how to solve them — and sharing what they learn with others at the university.