Wednesday, December 8, 2010

4 Ways to Build a Team

You're interested in the Climate Leadership Challenge. You have interests and skills to contribute, and maybe even an idea to pursue. But you're looking for teammates and don't know how to find them. Here are four quick and easy ways to build your CLC team and increase your chances of winning the Challenge!

1. Post a note on your facebook page. Tell your friends that you're interested in entering a student innovation competition that calls for creative solutions to the causes or impacts of climate change, and that you have the chance to win between $2000 and $50,000. You can also remind them of the other great reasons to enter the Challenge and of all you gain from the experience alone. You probably have friends who haven't yet heard of the CLC, and your facebook post may be enough to get them interested.

2. Post a note on the CLC facebook page. Others visiting the page will see it, and then I'll know that you're interested and looking. I have been able to introduce students and help direct students with particular skills towards teammates who are looking for those skills, and I'm happy to help you, too. You just have to let me know you're looking.

3. Join our Ning network. Add your name to one of the groups - 'Idea-makers' or 'Teammate for Hire', place a 'want-ad' or create a profile with your background, skills and interests. The more students join the Ning network, the better use it can be. For those of you who don't know, the Ning group is a private social networking site, open and visible only to those who join it. We've created one for the CLC as a way to facilitate team-building and networking. Pop on over and check out who is already waiting for you now!

4. Come this Thursday evening (5-6:30pm) to our in-person networking/team-building event at Sector67! Hear more about the CLC, ask your questions, get a tour of the resources at Sector67 (click for map) and do some networking. We'll share our backgrounds and skills we have to offer, and you'll have the chance to talk with other students who are in the same boat as you. You may even come away with fully-formed team!

While individuals may enter the CLC on their own, we strongly encourage the formation of interdisciplinary teams. Over the past two years, the strongest proposals have come from teams. So put your heads together, combine your skills, and let's hear your ideas for confronting climate change.

You can be part of the solution - what's your idea?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

CLC Networking/Team-building Event with Sector67 membership grants!

Next week Thursday, December 9, the Climate Leadership Challenge will be hosting a team-building/networking event for all those interested in entering the Challenge. We'll meet from 5:00-6:30pm at the very cool new Sector67, started by a UW-Madison alum and former CLC participant. 

Sector67 is a start up TechShop / Hacker space / Makerspace / Collaborative Environment on the east side of Madison dedicated to providing members the opportunity to work on tomorrow's technology; to build, collaborate, learn, and teach about next generation devices. Sector67 has work space, equipment and tools available to members who are looking to build, craft, sew, draw, construct, weld, and much much more - making it an ideal location for CLC teams to work. 

That's why the CLC is thrilled to offer 4-month membership grants to the first four teams (1-4 people per team) who register for this event. 

The event will run from 5pm until 6:30 on Thursday, Dec. 9, with pizza and beverages provided. RSVP to by noon on Dec. 9. 

Sector67 is just blocks off the bike path (a 15-20 minute ride from campus) and accessible by several bus routes. Routes 3, 6, 14 and 15 run down East Washington Ave, just a couple of blocks behind Sector67, and Route 4 runs right in front of the building at the Atwood/Winnebago intersection. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Worth the Watch

Check out this fantastic mini-documentary on the 2010 Climate Leadership Challenge, with footage from last year's competition at the Nelson Institute Earth Day conference.

It's worth the watch:

2010 Climate Leadership Challenge from Climate Leadership Challenge on Vimeo.

A big thanks to Peter Boger for the filming and production!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Announcing: New CLC Team Building Site!

I'm excited to announce a new tool for those of you who are interested in building a team for the Climate Leadership Challenge. We've created a Ning network, which is a private, customized social network for groups with related interests. We're inviting you to join (it's free) so that we can use the site to create profiles that list our departments, skills, and interests in order to allow networking and team building based on pairing students with complimentary skills.

Here is the invitation to join:

Please pass it on.

I have written instructions for what details to include about yourself. The goal is to get everyone who is interested in entering the CLC to join the Ning site so that you all can use it as a match-making method to form your teams.

Please be in touch with any questions :

ALSO: if you would like to meet in person, my office is Room 264 at SAGE on Old University in the Institute for Enzyme Research building (right by the pedestrian bridge that crosses University). Please email to set up an appointment. I'm happy to meet with you to answer questions, direct you to resources, or to serve as a sounding board for your ideas. I'm here to support YOU! So please be in touch anytime.

Looking forward to hearing from you! Now go join Ning and tell your friends!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

5 Reasons Why You Should Enter the Climate Leadership Challenge

Why should you invest your time and energy in crafting a proposal for the Climate Leadership Challenge?

Here are five reasons:

1. You could win the $50,000 Climate Leadership Challenge Grand Prize to launch that great idea of yours into action -- start a business, sell your idea, form a non-profit, fund your research...the opportunities are endless.

2. Participating in the Climate Leadership Challenge looks really good on a résumé - future employers, funding sources, and graduate schools will look highly on your ambition and innovation.

3. It's a great opportunity to meet faculty, staff, and other campus resources like the folks at the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) who are able to share their knowledge and expertise, which will benefit you in your academic and career goals far beyond the Climate Leadership Challenge.

4. Even if you don't win, you will have caught the attention of future employers, funders, and business partners in the community simply by participating in the Climate Leadership Challenge. (Even the kids who don't win American Idol still go home with a record deal, right?)

5. Climate change is impacting every facet of our lives - food, air, water, transportation, land use, public have the capacity to make a difference. The Climate Leadership Challenge can help you do that.

So what's your idea?

Please help us spread the word by sharing this post on Facebook and twitter. Thanks!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Technical Solutions to Climate Change - meet the expert!

I'm excited to share with you another great opportunity to help you prepare for the 2011 Climate Leadership Challenge

For those of you interested in technical solutions to climate change, this Friday you'll have the chance to pick the brain of an expert about your ideas.

Dr. Klaus Lackner, a professor from Columbia University and pioneer in developing technology to capture carbon dioxide from ambient air, is visiting campus on Friday, October 8 to give a public lecture about his research. Full details of the event are provided here.

Dr. Lackner is open to and enthusiastic about meeting with students who are interested in entering the Climate Leadership Challenge to talk with you about your questions and ideas. I can't stress what an incredible opportunity this is for you to sit down individually or with a small group for a discussion with Dr. Lackner. 

If you are interested in setting up a brief chat, Dr. Lackner will be available from 2:30-3:30pm in 2180 Mechanical Engineering this Friday, October 8

If you are interested -- please contact me (sageCLC at gmail) or Scott Williams (spwilliams at to set it up. 

Dr. Klaus Lackner is a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering at Columbia University. He is also the director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy at the Earth Institute. Dr. Lackner’s principal fields of interest include: Carbon management; alternative fuels and energy management; fluid mechanics and transport processes; applied physics. The specific on-going research efforts of Lackner's group range from the development of a new technology to capture carbon from the air to the investigation of an approach to energy production and conversion that favors smaller units that are mass-produced, modular, and controlled in aggregate by cheap automation and control systems. He co-founded Global Research Technologies in 2004 as a mechanism to commercialize carbon dioxide air capture technologies. Dr. Lackner received his Ph.D in Physics from Heidelberg University.

And don't forget about the Speed-Networking event this Thursday at 5:30 in the Engineering Centers Building's Tong Auditorium! Come one, come all. 

Hope to see you there! And as always - please help spread the word by sharing a link to this post on twitter and facebook. Thanks!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Speed Networking Event! Come one, come all!

Interested in the Climate Leadership Challenge but don't want to enter on your own? 

Have a great idea, but need someone with complementary skills from another major or department?

Are you looking for a team or to meet other people interested in the Climate Leadership Challenge?

Come to our Speed Networking event to connect with other interested students, to find a partner or build a team for the Climate Leadership Challenge!

When: Thursday, October 7th, 5:00-6:00 p.m.

Where:Tong Auditorium, Engineering Centers Building

Who: YOU! Even if you're still just rolling the idea of entering around in your mind, come check it out. I'll be there to answer your questions about the Climate Leadership Challenge, and you'll have the opportunity to chat with staff from the other university innovation competitions on campus - Innovation Days (Tong and Schoofs prizes) and The Burrill Business Plan Competition. 

I hope to see you there!

Learn more about Climate Leadership Challange at and the other competitions at

Monday, September 20, 2010

2011 Climate Leadership Challenge: Call for Proposals

What if you could win $50K to launch your ideas into action?

University of Wisconsin-Madison students have the chance to win $50,000 with their innovative ideas and creative solutions for climate change.  We are officially announcing the third annual Climate Leadership Challenge – a philanthropic innovation competition put on by the Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment

UW-Madison students: we want your proposals for products or programs that address the causes or impacts of climate change.

(Yes, we realize that's a little vague.The point is for you to BE CREATIVE!!!)

In previous years, entrants have been primarily engineering and business students, but don't let that scare off the scientists and artists and communicators among you! We welcome submissions from all disciplines. Like before, we're open to technical innovation, but we're also very interested in ideas that rely on social or interdisciplinary innovation

Focus on a climate change issue that drives your passion and figure out how your skills could be part of the solution. 

The Climate Leadership Challenge wants proposals with three broad characteristics: innovative – an original product or program, or a new improvement or variation on existing products or programs; action-ready – something students could implement if provided with the necessary resources; and scalable – a product or program that could start on a small-scale and expand in scope with more time or funding.

Proposals for the 2011 competition will be due on Friday, March 25, 2011. Six winning teams will be selected to present their proposals at an exposition-style booth at the annual Nelson Institute Earth Day conference, scheduled for April 20, 2011, where the $50,000 Grand Prize winner will be announced.

We’ll be here to answer questions throughout the process, as well as to help play matchmaker for students looking to form interdisciplinary teams with students from other departments. Check out our website for contest details and follow our blog, facebook and twitter accounts to benefit from our updates, guidance and tips for building a successful team and a winning proposal.

Please share, link, repost or email. Just link back here as a courtesy. Thank you!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What if YOU could be part of the solution?

Our climate is changing, and the impacts touch every aspect of our lives: water, air, biodiversity, agriculture, public health, energy use, transportation, land use…the list goes on.

What if you could be part of the solution?

The Climate Leadership Challenge (CLC) is an annual competition seeking innovative ideas and creative solutions to climate change issues and impacts with the goals of:
-                     inspiring great ideas in the minds of the next generation of leaders,
-                     engaging UW students in the adoption of solutions-oriented approaches to environmental challenges, and
-                     promoting awareness of climate change on campus and in the broader community.

What’s the prize? Grand Prize of $50,000 for one winning team with significant cash prizes for five additional winning teams.
What type of solutions is eligible? All original ideas relating to reducing the causes or impacts of climate change will be considered. Be creative!
Who can enter? All UW-Madison undergrad and graduate students. We encourage participants to form interdisciplinary teams that span multiple academic departments.
How to get involved: No registration necessary. Submit proposals in late March, judging will follow with awards presented at the annual Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference in April. Contact us at sageCLC at and stay tuned for more details.

We'll be sharing lots of tips, guidance, and opportunities through the blog, facebook, and twitter, so be sure to follow us to stay up-to-speed on the happenings.

A big thank you to John Surdyk for inviting me to present the Climate Leadership Challenge to about 100 engineering students tonight at IdeasFest. It looks like an exciting year ahead.

The Climate Leadership Challenge is run by the Nelson Institute’s Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and made possible by a generous grant from the Global Stewards Society.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

stay tuned...

We're gearing up to announce the details of the 2011 Climate Leadership Challenge. Stay tuned!