Congratulations to the 2022 President’s Sustainable Solutions Challenge Award Winners

April 28, 2022

The annual President’s Sustainable Solutions Challenge encourages student-led innovation in sustainability on CU campuses. In April, students with ideas for sustainability innovations on CU Denver’s campus competed for cash prizes while gaining experience in leadership, entrepreneurship, and social enterprise. 

This year’s first-place winner is Girija Kulkarni, who is working toward a master of science in environmental specializations in ecosystems and environmental science, policy, and management, and a graduate certificate in environmental policy and management. Kulkarni’s presentation, titled “Vermicompost,” explores how red wiggler worms decompose organic matter to develop nutrient-rich byproducts for fertilizer. “This further expands the gap between food systems and the notion that Earth is a closed system,” Kulkarni said in her presentation. Kulkarni will receive a cash prize of $1,500. 

The second-place winner is Shizuyo Hayner, an undergraduate student studying international business. Hayner’s presentation, titled “All in for Aluminum,” explores the plastic waste crisis and how the Auraria campus can help by eliminating plastic bottles from vending machines. “The campus-wide effort to diminish plastic usage will have a tremendous impact on surrounding communities and the economy,” Hayner said in his presentation. “Fully recyclable material will create a fully circular economy.” Hayner will receive a cash prize of $500.  

The sustainability challenge is a demonstration of the university’s commitment to leveraging research and creative activities campuswide. For more information on the President’s Sustainable Solutions Challenge, click here.