In a year that was different from all others, we are pleased to have been able to continue our annual tradition of The Lab’s Sustainability Prize at EARTH University. The December 2020 prize ceremony marked the 11th year of the program, and the beginning of a now-annual runner-up prize.
The Sustainability Prize is awarded annually to the student project that best exemplifies The Lab’s five core principles of sustainability. In the past, we awarded a single $10,000 prize to the winning project. Starting in 2020, we now offer an additional runner-up prize of $3,000. Proceeds of the prizes are typically invested by the winners in the continuation of their projects.
The 2020 first prize was awarded to Francely Concepción Flores, Juana Suar Domínguez, and Mónica Alejandra Montoya Grajales for the project: LlamaBrick. This project features the development of paper briquettes sourced from sawdust and community paper waste, serving as a less polluting alternative to burning firewood.
Francely Concepción Flores (middle) and Juana Suar Domínguez (right) (not pictured: Mónica Alejandra Montoya Grajales) on stage with Irene Alvardo (left) during the 2020 Sustainability Prize ceremony
The runner-up prize this year was awarded to the team of Dasha Montcalm Álvarez and José Andres Charpentier, who developed an educational website related to Indigenous food production techniques.
Dasha Montcalm Álvarez (right) and José Andres Charpentier (left), runner-up prizewinners
In spite of the restrictions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s ceremony took place in person, with all attendees masked and socially distanced. Although The Sustainability Laboratory was not able to attend the ceremony in person, Lab founder Michael Ben-Eli sent a video message to the participants, and the ceremony was conducted by Prize program administrator and professor Irene Alvarado. Arturo Condo, President of EARTH University, Yanine Chan Blanco, Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Irmino Perera, EARTH University professor and Director of Student Life and Wellness, were also in attendance.
We look forward to learning how the prizewinners move forward in developing their projects, and we extend a special thank you to Ivor and Barbara Freeman and Joshua Arnow and Elyse Arnow-Brill for their continued support of The Lab’s Sustainability Prize at EARTH University.