ReThink- Student Resilience Challenge

Executive Summary:

While many RSOs focus their events on a single topic or target a specific major, ReThink’s goal is to reach as wide of an audience as possible, and we are seeking funding for an event that will do just that. We are requesting $1726 to host a “Resilience Challenge” which will implore participants to consider and engage with real-world problems surrounding predominantly business and the environment. This event is modeled after the Resilience Challenge hosted by Sustainable Seattle on October 2nd (more information on this event can be found here: Located in the HUB, ReThink will team up with several clubs from across campus to draw an ideal crowd of around 100 students for the event. These students will spend three hours listening to panels of industry specialists, discussing relevant topics in breakout sessions, and collectively creating a plan of action with a realistic timeline and implementation strategy.

Beyond the experience members of the planning committee will gain from organizing and marketing this event, all participants of the Resilience Challenge will get exposure to a diverse array of students from other disciplines, and informative and inspiring presentations and discussions from professionals in their fields of interest. It is a fantastic opportunity for students to broaden their perspectives from the narrow views represented in their respective majors.

To ensure the Resilience Challenge draws the numbers we have projected, ReThink will partner with all participating parties and RSOs to employ a collaborative outreach strategy. This will involve placing marketing materials such as posters in the various buildings of departments we are seeking to target, and coordinating our online advertising through list serves and Facebook promotion.

To be clear, our event does not address one specific environmental problem, but rather a broad array of challenges that persist in today’s society. We will provide the information for participants to become educated on these important topics, and resources for them to learn how to get engaged.

Due to the nature of the event, the measurability of the event prior to its conclusion is quite limited. However, one the key outputs of the discussion segment of the event will be to come up with time-sensitive goals, and a way to measure them. We will then assign a student representative to each these goals in order to monitor overall progress towards them.

The following report will enumerate the specific event objectives, logistics, and funds requested.

Student Involvement:

The event will be catered to a group of around 100 students. Initially the ReThink members (and members from our partnering RSOs) will complete the planning and logistics. This will include reserving a space, finding donations for food, contacting speakers and industry specialists, working with UW ESS office to uncover UW’s underlying problems with sustainability, reserving tables and creating advertisements. ReThink and its partners will increase advertising closer to the event using social media, flyers and word of mouth. Students who plan on attending will be required to sign up using a catalyst survey to guarantee their attendance.

Our team will be working 3-5 hours a week for the next two months getting in contact with experts in sustainability. We will work to select 7-10 professionals that can educate the student audience on both our current situation and solutions that are being implemented. The students planning the event will use contacts from the Buerk Center of Entrepreneurship, Foster School of Business, and the ESS office to find those professionals that can most strongly influence the students at the challenge. We will also be looking for people who will work well with students through the brainstorming process. A large part of the challenge is bringing students together to find the root cause of UW’s environmental issues in order to create a feasible solution including a plan of action. We will need to source an industry specialist that can act as a facilitator through the process.

Marketing the event will also take a team of five to ten students. We will create a marketing schematic that emphasizes the importance to the challenge while illustrating its innovation and enjoyability. We will also find a graphic designer to create our images, Facebook banners, poster and an email template. The bulk of the advertising will take place in the month prior to the event. We will use this time to spread awareness across the campus, making sure to target a wide variety of majors and specialties. The goal is to form a group of students from all disciplines so that we can create solutions that address each part of the issue.  We will also be publicizing this event to the greater Seattle area with an emphasis on sustainable Seattle businesses. We will be assigning two students to do community outreach for the event starting in February and continuing until the day of the event. We intend to have representatives from these companies attend the event as well. The representatives will be able to provide the students with real world knowledge and expose problems that arise in a business setting.

We will have a team of five students work on developing a curriculum for the challenge. These students will do research to find out which aspects of sustainability are most pressing. They will select five areas to focus on, which we will use to find the most applicable industry specialist to have at the event. These students will be looking for topics that together cover the spectrum of sustainability. Examples include: green architecture, waste and waste water management, clean tech and recent clean tech innovation and our food system. These students will have some of the most intensive roles as they will be responsible for setting the tone of the event.

Education & Outreach:

The monetary support of the CSF grant will allow the best possible outreach for the UW Resilience Challenge in various halls on campus and relevant buildings in order to gain an excitement and attendance unlike any past ReThink event. To keep in the best interest of the environment while still maximizing the potential for outreach to many attendees, we are not planning on utilizing the money for superfluous and wasteful items like flyers to publicize, but rather eight eye-catching and aesthetically appealing posters that will illustrate the importance and quality of this event to those who see them. ReThink has identified the most influential halls on campus that identify and will resonate best with the goals of this event and the club, such as the UW Foster School of Business, the Art and Design School, the College of the Environment, and the College of Engineering, just to name a few. The posters will be displayed in high-traffic areas, such as by the cafes and the main entrances in order to attract the most attention.

Other means of outreach will involve members giving a brief presentation to classes in these departments, particularly 100 and 200 level courses with mostly undergraduates. The goal for outreach is to fill the event space at capacity with attendees and to have a wide range of participants from various departments on campus. This will ensure that the meeting and discussions will result in the most diverse collaboration of interests and ideas in order to promote the most productive and creative collaboration between students with various areas of expertise. The goal for the entire event is that students will leave with an invigorated and informed passion for worldly and environmental issues that is cemented with goals and true markers of success for a plan that will have longevity.

By advertising to such a wide audience, our goal is to trigger word-of-mouth marketing that will reverberate across campus. The ReThink Facebook page will also be an important channel to market the event to UW students, as well as individual promotion by board members and inspired club members. With our multi-faceted marketing and outreach approaches, we will maximize our outreach, and ensure that the environmental message will be heard loud and clear throughout the UW campus.

Environmental Impact:
  • Energy Use
  • Food
  • Living Systems and Biodiversity
  • Transportation
  • Waste
  • Water
  • Environmental Justice
Project Longevity:

Due to the multi-club involvement and the scope of this event, we will coordinate closely with all relevant parties throughout the planning process. As you can see in the timeline, we have set up some specific milestones to ensure that we remain on schedule. More specifically, this will entail working especially closely with Terri Butler who is in charge of Sustainable Seattle, as well as the presidents of respective clubs we choose to partner with for the event. We will conduct this correspondence by phone and email with Terri, and by email and in-person meetings with the RSO presidents.

Environmental Problem:

The environmental problem that we hope to combat with this event is the widespread lack of education on pressing global environmental issues that UW students have received. These issues apply to every student on campus in almost every academic discipline, yet not all students are required to--or have room in their schedules to--take courses that touch on these issues, and independently sought information can often be misleading. Furthermore, though the University of Washington has undertaken many steps to be a sustainable campus, there is so much more that can be done, and we believe this starts with student education and involvement.

Our adaptation of a Resilience Challenge for the UW campus will help combat this issue by providing a single day event touching on several issues of critical environmental importance, such as agriculture, infrastructure, global climate change, and others. In this way, students will be able to get the facts on these pressing issues without needing to take an academic course and without a large commitment of their time. Additionally, we hope to attract a larger audience of students with the speakers we will have present at our event. Not all students on campus have a strong desire to learn about sustainability issues, and we believe that the promise of connecting with professionals and faculty members in a variety of fields will encourage a wider array of students to attend, thereby educating a larger percentage of UW’s campus.

The second aspect of the UW Resilience Challenge will be to identify key sustainability issues still present on campus and in the university community, and how students can work with each other and the administration to create a plan for change. After students have heard from each speaker panel, they will organize themselves into breakout groups of 7-8 students with 1-2 speakers per group. In these groups, students and speakers will identify key sustainability issues and create different plans to facilitate change on campus and in society. The wide variety of students in attendance will inspire a cross-disciplinary discussion that the campus may have never seen, and will set the stage for many more discussions on campus sustainability to come.

Explain how the impacts will be measured:

As this is a discussion and future action based event, we cannot set guidelines for impact measurement until the actual event. The campus resiliency plan that will be established at the challenge will include 6 month, 1 year, 5 year, and other time sensitive goals for the student and campus community to reach. In making those goals, students, speakers, and other members of the university community will establish a framework for measuring how well those goals are met, and a course of action in the event those goals aren’t met on time. For example, let’s say that at the UW Resilience Challenge a 5-year goal was set of extending the current goal of 70% waste diversion by 2020 to 90%. In the steps to reach that goal, a 1-year goal of having composting bins in 100% of campus buildings was established. One could measure this goal’s environmental impact by estimating the amount of compostable material diverted from landfills in each of the buildings in which compost bins were introduced, and then measuring the current percentage of UW’s total waste diverted from landfills. For each goal made at the challenge, we plan to have a separate student representative take on the responsibility of monitoring the progress of each goal and report their findings to the leaders of the partnering organizations. Should this year’s Resilience Challenge be as successful as we believe it will be, we will have a second part to the challenge in the spring of 2016, where we will evaluate progress made, and introduce new goals or alter current ones as the participants see fit.

Though campus action is an important component to the Resilience Challenge, as we stated above one of our primary goals is simply student education on pressing sustainability issues. This cannot exactly be monitored at all, as there is no way for us to measure how much one student has learned, or how much their mindset on environmental issues has been altered. However, as we are striving for interdisciplinary involvement, we will set goals of departmental attendance and evaluate how well that was achieved. For example, if we set a goal of generally having 25% business students, 30% environmental students, 25% engineering, math, or science students, and 20% students representing misc. departments, we can track attendance after the event and see how close we were to reaching those goals. We can then take that information and use it to determine our marketing and outreach efforts for next year’s challenge.

Total amount requested from the CSF: $1,605
This funding request is a: Grant
If this is a loan, what is the estimated payback period?:


ItemCost per ItemQuantityTotal Cost
Posters for Marketing$508$400
Room Reservation (HUB)$6001$600
Name tags (Attendees, volunteers, and speakers)$7 for 1002$14
Post-it Easel Pad$3212$384
Post it Notes$11 for 5-pack6$66
Recycled-Material Pens$7 for 50-pack3$21

Non-CSF Sources:

Funding SourceItems/PurposeTotal Cost
Sustainable SeattleGiveaways/Food$500
Trader JoesFood~$500
Project Completion Total: $2,605


TaskTimeframeEstimated Completion Date
Choose Date and Book VenueToday-Feb. 1stFeb. 1st
Recruit other RSOs to partner for eventToday-Feb 20thFeb 20th
Reach out to potential speakers and get commitmentsFeb 1st-Apr 10thApr 10th
Reach out to all departments on campus notifying them of eventFeb 1st-March 6thMarch 6th
Submit Donation requests from food and beverage vendorsFeb 1st-March 17thMarch 17th
Begin physical marketing across campus (flyers, posters, in-class promotions etc.)Apr 2nd-May 8thMay 8th
Purchase all supplies need for eventApr 3rd-May 5thMay 5th
Open/Close event registrationApril 6th-May 6thMay 6th

Project Approval Forms: