For students

For students

Why should I participate in the Carbon Reduction Challenge?

The Carbon Reduction Challenge offers many benefits that will increase your to employability and deliver valuable skills in project management. Key benefits include:

  1. Carbon literacy skills that will help you succeed as a professional in a carbon-constrained economy
  2. Calculation of economic benefits/return on investment for carbon reduction strategies
  3. Practice in being a "sustainability ambassador" no matter your formal role in a company
  4. Learn how to shepherd a project from ideation to implementation in the context of large, complex organizations
  5. Learn how be effective and efficient in team collaborations
  6. Hone your professional communication and pitch skills
  7. Network with key stakeholders across the public and private sectors at an end-of-challenge poster expo

Is there a prize for winning the Carbon Reduction Challenge?

We award cash prizes to the top three projects:

  • $5,000 for first place
  • $3,000 for second place
  • $1,000 for third place

Do I have to be a co-op or intern to participate in the Challenge?

No, you can participate without a formal co-op or internship placement. In this case, you would identify an organization to work with in developing and implementing a carbon reduction plan. Such organizations may include a local school, church, small business, your parent’s place of work, etc.

How much time will this program require on top of my responsibilities as a co-op or intern?

The Challenge lasts 3 months, and students spend no more than four hours per week on their project, on average, noting that some weeks will require more effort and some less.

Would my supervisor be OK with me participating in the Challenge?

If you are interested in participating, our program office would reach out to the relevant contact points at your place of employment/internship with information about the Challenge, your expected time commitment, and benefits for the organization (which include financial benefits). Eventually, your employer would need to agree to your participation. Thus far, all employers have been enthusiastic to sign on as partners in the program. See the full list of benefits to participating organizations here.

Who can sign up for the Challenge?

Any undergraduate student can sign up to be a part of Challenge! While majority of the participants are Georgia Tech Students, we have also worked with students from Emory and Georgia State. There are also ways to participate remotely.

Do I need to be based in Atlanta to participate in the Challenge?

No. We have had students successfully participate remotely, while based in other states. There are no specific requirements for in-person meetings/appearances. We have even printed out posters to present in the final poster expo on behalf of students who participated remotely. Such students are fully eligible for prizes.

How long is the program?

The program is conducted over a 3-month period, designed to match the length of the average 1-semester co-op or internship duration.

Will I work alone or in a group?

This is your choice. We have had many amazing projects spearheaded by a single student. However, we recommend finding at least one other person to work with to share the workload. If you are interested in participating in the Challenge, we can help you to identify other students at your company who might be interested in forming a team.

How do I sign up?

Email us at carbonreduction@gatech.edu and tell us about yourself and your company you will interning/Co-oping at. We will add you to our cycle list and provide next steps on orientation and engaging with your host company.

Will I receive any help in identifying potential carbon reduction projects?

You can browse past project ideas to get a sense for what kinds of projects are feasible in specific settings. In the early stages of the Challenge, we also recommend contacting staff from facilities and/or the sustainability/corporate responsibility units at your organization, who can often help you to identify possible projects and garner additional support for your efforts. We will work with you to ensure that you have a well-scoped, feasible project that you can “own” from start to finish, while engaging the relevant partners and champions at your organization.

Do you have any examples of past projects?

You can view past winning projects here. The entire portfolio of projects is incredibly diverse, and includes examples from the transportation, manufacturing, IT, biotech, education, and governmental sectors. Regardless of its size, every project yields a sizeable reduction in climate-changing carbon emissions while delivering financial value to your partnering organization.

Join the Challenge

Contact us at carbonreduction@gatech.edu to participate in the Carbon Reduction Challenge.