Eco-Equity Challenge

The GW Eco-Equity Challenge


Think Sustainability. Think Justice.  Make Eco-Equity.

The Office of Sustainability and the Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service  provide a biennial opportunity to support GW students in their social entrepreneurial efforts to address environmental and social justice issues in Washington, D.C. The application deadline is February 16, 2018. Come to an Eco-Equity Challenge workshop at the Nashman Center's December 8th Symposium from 1:30-2:45! 

What is environmental justice?

Environmental Justice is the idea that all people regardless of race, income, culture, and social class have the right to a decent quality of life and deserve equal protection from environmental and public health hazards. 

Read more about the first round of funding in 2015:


Questions for the 2018 competition cycle:

Who is eligible?

GW undergraduate and graduate students. Projects may be individual or team submissions; teams can include up to 5 students. Applicants must be enrolled for the 2018-2019 academic year. 

What will the project entail?

With support from Challenge staff and in collaboration with a local partner organization, GW students are invited to propose a project that enhances the local community. The project must have both environmental AND social impact in an underserved or low-income neighborhood. 

Winning students or teams will be awarded between $500 and 5,000 for their projects. Students are required to work with a GW faculty or staff mentor as a resource, and are not prohibited from receiving other funding for their projects. 

All winners must attend a one-day environmental justice seminar on Saturday, April 1st. Project deliverables will include three blog posts and an end-of-project event/presentation.

What support is available?

Each winning project is eligible to receive $500-$5,000 in funding. Students are required to work with a GW faculty or staff mentor as a resource, and are not prohibited from receiving additional grants for their projects. 

Where will the project be located?

Projects must have a positive impact within an under-served or low-income neighborhood in or around Washington, D.C. Projects can build on past or ongoing work with a community partner, or a new relationship can be established. Projects on the GW campus will be considered, and should demonstrate a local impact beyond campus. All projects must raise awareness within the GW community about environmental or climate justice.

What are the final deliverables?

Project deliverables will include three blog posts and a final event (such as a public presentation, celebration, video screening, service project). Deliverables also include the project itself and a plan to sustain the project beyond the life of your funding.

What is the project timeline? 

The application deadline is February 16, 2018. Projects will be executed over the course of the following academic year, to be completed by the end of the 2018–2019 school year. 

How do I receive guidance on developing a project proposal?

Interested students should contact Naamal De Silva ([email protected]) with questions or to schedule a time to discuss project ideas in person. 

How do I apply? 

Application questions are attached here, the sample budget template is here, and the sample timeline template is here. For any questions, please contact Kimbery Williams ([email protected]).  


In Washington, DC, much environmental justice work centers on access to healthy organic food (nutrition education, gardens and urban farms, farmers’ markets, school-based programs), river restoration (especially on the Anacostia River) air quality, and housing (lead, mold, and other health hazards, but also access to nature). Climate justice will become increasingly important over time. Often, the biggest challenge is sustaining new efforts over time.

In 2015, winning eco-equity challenge project ideas included community-based mapping and geography education for middle school students, a peace garden for an afterschool program, floating wetland islands to support river restoration, and a rooftop community garden at GW. Other student ideas included an app-based game to encourage environmental awareness and small community-based service projects. Blog posts from past winners provide information about their specific ideas, successes, challenges, and how they addressed these challenges. The mapping team also had their own blog, which includes lesson plans, reflections and videos.

The EPA has useful background information on environmental justice. Here are a few videos that talk about environmental justice more generally: Green Mapping for Eco-Justice and Environmental Justice in Action.