The Challenge was devised by students at Northwestern University as a way to engage a wide variety of people in a substantive discussion on environmental impact and sustainability. While getting a low score, just like in golf, is the way to win the Challenge, the real goal is to encourage participants to reflect on the impact their own lifestyles have on the world they live in.

How the challenge works:

The rules are simple. If you use a single-use, disposable item like a plastic grocery bag or a to-go coffee cup, you get a point. The full list of rules and regulations is on the bottom of this sheet, but you get the idea. At the end of every day, you should report your points to your Challenge leader, who will be responsible for tabulating the scores.

It’s your responsibility as a participant to keep an accurate record of your waste and know what should and should not count as a point. As a general rule of thumb, if it’s an item that has an obvious reusable substitution or is something you can reasonably do without, it’s a point. If it’s something that is given to you without asking for it, then it isn’t a point. Just don’t ask for more. Don’t worry about racking up a ton of points, especially at the start of your Challenge. Remember: the point is not necessarily to win (although that would be nice), but to take note of the wasteful habits in your life that you can change.

To that effect, participants are incentivized to write a blog post about their experiences on the challenge. Have you encountered point sources you did not anticipate? What challenges have you experienced? What strategies do you use to be more sustainable? Share them with your fellow participants and you can all reduce your impact even more. Because this is an important part of the collective learning encouraged in the Challenge, participants who fail to blog regularly, at their group’s agreed-upon interval, will be assessed 5 penalty points.

Those are the basics! Just be conscious of the impact you’re making and talk with your fellow participants about how to reduce it.



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