Lightbulb with artistic flowers growing inside

In the spring of 2022, the Environmental Center will host the third annual Buffs Sustainable Solutions Challenge, inviting students to present their ideas for sustainable innovations and solutions for the University of Colorado Boulder. To participate, students will create short pitch presentations that address environmental quality, natural resource use, social justice, and economic longevity in the CU Boulder system. Winning proposals will be awarded $1000, while a runner up and an audience favorite will be awarded $600 and $400 respectively. All proposals will be considered for implementation post-competition. Interested students can sign up to participate or learn more.

How to Compete 

  1. Fill out the interest form
  2. Attend information sessions and workshops hosted by the Environmental Center to hone your ideas, meet potential team members, and network with sustainability professionals on campus.
  3.  With your group or as an individual participant, create an executive summary, a slide deck, and a ten minute presentation that addresses the details of your sustainable innovation.
  4. After an executive summary and a slide deck are submitted, a review committee of experts will let you know if your proposal has been selected to present at pitch night, where winners will be chosen and announced.

Proposals can cover any topic area and will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Anticipated impact
  • Innovation in addressing a sustainability issue
  • The feasibility of the idea

Resources for Your Proposal 

  • Environmental Center events - The Environmental Center is the go-to resource for sustainability engagement and information at CU Boulder.  Opportunities such as the Eco-Social Solutions series and Sustainable Buffs Community are ideal places to find inspiration for new ideas and to meet new potential team members and advisors to help your team claim the top prize. Also, check out the Environmental Center homepage for more inspiration, ideas, and connections. 
  • New Venture Challenge - This entrepreneurial accelerator hosts workshops throughout the Spring semester that help students prepare solid arguments and smooth presentations in a business pitch setting. If your innovation is based around a private business or social enterprise, you may want to consider applying to compete for their Sustainability special prize.
  • CU Boulder STARS Report - The CU STARS report is a periodic sustainability report that CU organizes in line with AASHE university sustainability standards. You can use this report to learn about the University's past sustainability efforts and where there is room for improvement on campus. 
  • CU Boulder Climate Action Plan - The CU Boulder Conceptual Plan for Climate Neutrality provides abundant information on the University’s top priorities for climate action and plans to reach carbon neutrality. 
  • Sustainability Master Plan - Section 3 of the Campus Master Plan, which focuses on sustainability, outlines the campus targets for waste, energy, greenhouse gases, and water looking to 2050. This document will provide helpful guidance on choosing your area of impact and defining your innovation’s benefits to the CU Boulder campus.
  • CU Writing Center - The writing center may be used as a resource to refine your final proposal.

Important Links

A stylish green powerpoint slide reading "Resilient Parking Lots"Fill out the interest form! 

Powerpoint slide titled "SolMate OS" with wind and solar energy generation as a background Learn about 2021 Winners!

Watch last year's competition!

Campus garden with computer rendering of green plants and a small greenhouse

The winning proposals: Solmate OS, Resilient Parking Lots, and the Campus Farm.

A calendar of BSSC events will be posted soon, and you can email with any questions, concerns, or proposal submissions!