Wolverton places third at Project Green Challenge
Denton (UNT), TX— UNT Freshman Alyssa Wolverton stands on the stage in California delivering her final presentation for peers and judges at Project Green Challenge. She has decided to skip the boring power point presentation and go with some slam poetry.
“Sometimes I feel like my age group is a little looked over, people seem to think all we care about is our looks...I feel like that is a lot of hot air in a balloon of judgment that needs a push pin because we’re the only ones brave enough, or naïve enough, or stupid enough to ask the hard questions.”
Wolverton placed third among high school and college students from all around the globe. Students had to complete different tasks every day during the month of October. Participants had 24 hours to complete challenges that help students live more eco-friendly lifestyles. The challenges were ranked on a point system.
“Everyday you got something new, from meatless Monday, packaging, paper, anything,” Wolverton said. “One of my favorites was called voice. It was about advocacy, and how you were going to spread the word and how you were going to talk to people.”
Wolverton explained that one of the challenges that was very labor intensive was creating a picture board that was 40 pictures long on Pinterest, which is not one of her favorite websites to play on.
“Some of the challenges were really hard, some really easy,” Wolverton said. “Sometimes I’d work two hours on a challenge and not win the daily prize and sometimes I’d spend five minutes and win.”
Wolverton had help and support on the challenges especially from Special Assistant of Sustainability Camille Vaughn, who encouraged all the UNT Eco-Reps sign up for Project Green Challenge. However, by the second week, Wolverton was the only one participating.
“I supported Alyssa throughout the challenge,” Vaughn said. “I particularly helped her complete a challenge on eating less-meat by allowing her to interview me as a vegetarian.”
By the end of the month, Wolverton was on top of the leader board with 3225 points, and a student from Kansas Wesleyan University was in second with 3199 points. The leaderboard is only a portion of what it takes to win. People are interviewed and submit a video to become finalists, at which point they then give a presentation at the Project Green Summit.
When it came to her final presentation, Wolverton chose to do a slam poetry piece instead of going with the traditional power point.
“I told the founder of Project Green Challenge that I wanted to go last because I knew my poetry was going to be awesome.” Wolverton said. “I ended up performing last and I got a standing ovation.”
In the end, Grayson Kent of Lawton Chiles High School placed first, Annie May from Anglo-American School of Moscow was the runner up, and Wolverton came in third. There were no hard feelings from the Radio, Television & Film major.
“When you’re at Project Green Challenge, you’re there to try to make social change, meet people like you and be an inspiration." Wolverton said. “The people who won, I’m so happy for them.”
The experience taught Wolverton that there are other people like her who are engaged in recycling and living in an eco-friendly world. She enjoyed being able to talk to other teenagers and find out what they’re doing at their respective campuses.
Wolverton found the experience of Project Green Challenge rewarding. She wants others to do their part to be eco-friendly, and continue to educate and help others if they want to get involved.
“Do what you can,” Wolverton said. “It does really help to be eco-friendly and to have an eco-friendly mindset. I’m going to do my part, but I need a little help.”
Vaughn says that this win means that there is a growing number of students who are passionate about the environment. She hopes that this will inspire other students to get involved in the various sustainability programs on campus.
“I hope that her experience will inspire more students to be more involved in programs such as North Texas Eco-Reps, RecycleManiacs, or the many subcommittees of the Sustainability Council, to take the Challenge themselves, and to more actively support campus-wide initiatives,” Vaughn said. ”I think that she has helped to place UNT on another path for successful sustainability programs in higher education.”