On May I, 2014, Green City Challenge visited the New York Institute of Technology at their Manhattan campus to teach the students about ways to live, work and eat green.  The event was one of just a few events at NYIT in recent years that have incorporated both fun and educational components.  From the beginning of the year, several NYIT students worked with Les Judd, the President of Green City Challenge to create hands-on fun activities that would teach NYIT students ways to live, work and eat green.

“My experience was a positive one because the students and I had many opportunities to do what we felt was best and were given freedom with this project” said Zoe Faust-Trahan one of the NYIT student volunteers.  The event included five challenges designed to educate students about ways to live, work and eat green such as the Recycle It Challenge.  In this challenge, students were asked to sort 20 items into the right category in a limited amount of time.

Another challenge was called “Go Fish” and it required students to answer questions related to fishing and taught them what varieties of fish and other sea creatures are harvested using unsustainable methods.  Other challenges included the “Go Build Challenge” which asked students to identify sustainable building materials.  The Energy Challenge asked students to do push-ups or jump rope for a short amount of time to demonstrate that energy is precious and needs be conserved.  The last challenge was the “Water Taste Challenge” which asked students to taste bottled water and tap water and identify which one was which.

All the challenges were fun and interactive and got the students physically as well as mentally active.  Participants received raffle tickets for successfully completing the challenges and eleven gift prizes were awarded at the end of the event.  The gift prizes included five gift memberships to Clearwater, the organization that was founded by the folk singer Pete Seeger to help cleanup the Hudson River, three gift memberships to Transportation Alternatives, an organization that advocates for bicycle and pedestrian rights, and three gift memberships to the Urban Green Council, the local chapter of the United States Green Building Council.

According to many of the volunteers and attendees, the event was a success.  The NYIT volunteers and attendees definitely learned new information about the environment and green living that they will incorporate into their lives. Additionally, the volunteers gained confidence in themselves by organizing a successful event with a lot of complex and innovative elements.  After the event, the NYIT students expressed interest in helping to organize another Green City Challenge event either at the Manhattan campus or at the Long Island campus, which happens to be much larger and would be an ideal location for this type of event.

The May I event was a trial run in a way for the upcoming Green City Challenge Eco-Carnival scheduled for Sunday, October 12 in the East Village and for the Traveling Green City Challenge Program which will bring the Green City Challenge to New York City schools.