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The Environmental Challenge (EC) is a student team competition to prepare and present an optimal solution to a complex “true-to-life” environmental problem. The problem presented will be of current value, representative of the location of the event, and require multi-disciplinary approaches for success. The EC seeks not only technical and scientific analyses, but solutions that are presented in conjunction with the development of appropriate regulatory approaches and resolution of political and community issues.

The goals of the EC are to…

  • Involve students in the PNWIS Annual conference;
  • Provide experience in solving complex environmental situations in a fun and supportive atmosphere;
  • Provide students an opportunity to display their talents; and
  • Be a premier networking event for students to connect with internship and job opportunities.

The EC is designed to promote formation of student teams with the broadest feasible range of environmental disciplines including engineering, planning, policy, economics, and various other sciences. The problem will be relevant to the conference location and current events. Teams must research the problem background, as well as the technical, social, economic, and political aspects of the situation. Teams must stay apprised of ongoing events related to the problem adjusting their solutions appropriately leading up to and during the conference.

Each year the EC gives away cash prizes as well as a trip to compete in the AWMA’s Annual Conference and Exhibition (ACE) Environmental Challenge International (ECi).

This year's Environmental Challenge

What is this year’s Environmental Challenge? How can I prepare? Download the Challenge and Protocol here. Be sure to read all of the rules and requirements! Proposals from student teams are due by 5pm PST on October 4, 2022. After that, the “tweak” will be sent out to teams that have submitted proposals.

For questions regarding the Environmental Challenge, contact Melody Kieneker at:

mkieneker [at] farallonconsulting [dot] com