The Challenge PSSC mark

The CU President’s Office invites students to present their ideas for sustainable innovations and solutions for the University of Colorado System and its Campuses in competition for a cash prize.

The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day and the CU Environmental Center will be celebrated on April 22nd and will include the award of a $2,000 grand prize for the first CU President’s Sustainable Solutions Challenge (PSSC). PSSC is a competition series that seeks to encourage student led innovation in sustainability on CU campuses or through the CU system.

The competition will take place in two stages. The first stage will be a Pitch Night competition hosted on each campus and open to entry for students enrolled at that campus. The winners of each campus’ Pitch Night will be awarded a prize of $1000, and the top two teams from each campus will be advanced to the grand prize round, which will be simulcast event broadcasted from CU Boulder’s Glenn Miller Ballroom. Both rounds will see student teams present their ideas to a panel of judges with experience in sustainability.


Full PSSC Participant Information

PSSC Participant Application

Boulder Campus Important Dates

February 18, 5-6 pm | Boulder Information Session | UMC Aspen Rooms

Come to get information about the President's Sustainable Solutions Challenge, explore ideas about potential proposals, and meet potential teammates interested in participating.

March 9 | Participant Registration deadline


March 12, 5-7 pm | Boulder Proposal Workshop | UMC Aspen Rooms

Registered and potential participants can understand the proposal components, refine their concepts and receive feedback from campus and sustainability staff.

April 1 | Proposal Submission deadline

Registration by March 9 is not required to submit a pitch proposal by April 1.

April 13 | Boulder Campus Pitch Competition | UMC 235

Limited to 20 registered teams with the top ranking proposals for Sustainability Solutions for the Boulder campus or the entire CU System.  

April 22 | Grand Prize Competition | Boulder Campus, UMC Glenn Miller Ballroom

Top two teams from each of the four CU campuses advance to compete for Grand Prize on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. 


Resources for Developing Your Pitch

The resources listed here are good places to get ideas and support for your team.

  • Environmental Center events - The Environmental Center is the go-to resources for sustainability engagement and information at CU Boulder. Their events, particularly the Student Forum for Climate Justice and the Sustainability Brown Bag series, 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.


Top Boulder Sustainability Challenges and Opportunities

Proposals can cover any topic area.  If you are looking for ideas, consider that the UCB campus has adopted goals that are ripe for innovation:

  1. Reaching a 50% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 (from 2005 Baseline)

  2. Reaching a campus wide 90% landfill diversion rate

  3. Move to a higher proportion of transportation fuels derived from renewable resources

  4. Enhance on site management of stormwater and reduce water used for landscaping

Explore these issues and more at the information session, proposal workshop, and Environmental Center Events