Eco Equity Challenge

With a campus located four blocks from the White House and adjacent to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, it would

The GW Eco Equity Challenge

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 residents of Washington, D.C., to share their skills and find solutions to environmental and social justice issues.

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.


Application Details

  • Interested students are encouraged to meet with Kimberly Williams in the Office of Sustainability to discuss project ideas prior to submitting an application. Reach Kimberly at [email protected].
  • Interested students are encouraged to submit a proposal as a team, and must have a GW Faculty Advisor and a local community partner.
  • Project proposals must incorporate an environmental and social justice component.
  • Application deadline is February 7 each year, and the project is to be completed the following academic year.

Eco Equity Challenge Application


Past Projects

Ward 8 Waterways


A student activist group from George Washington University (GW), the Environmental Justice Action Network (EJAN), assisted with

Three students collect water samples in the woods

stream sampling and monitoring across Ward 8 for the Ward 8 Waterways project funded by a GW Upstart Eco-Equity Grant. Students took monthly samples from previously neglected streams identified through Ward 8 Woods’ pilot project, and hope to continue this water monitoring project in future years. 

The sites selected for this project included two streams off the Suitland Parkway - St. Elizabeth’s Tributary and the 23rd street stream - as well as Magnolia Tributary at Oxon Run Parkway and the Erie Street Tributary at Fort Stanton Park. Data was gathered on variables including temperature, turbidity, pH, and bacteria.

Results from this sampling revealed elevated concentrations of dangerous pathogens at several of the sites. These results may be due to sewage leakage or extremely dry conditions that exacerbate bacterial growth. The students will use this information in collaboration with Ward 8 Woods to target remediation for the streams so that they can eventually be publicly accessible by Ward 8 residents. In addition, students used their water quality data and historical research to develop a story map and dashboard about the areas surrounding these previously-neglected streams.