2023 ECOChallenge: What happened?

The final of Lancaster University’s yearly ECOChallenge took place on March 16th.

The ECOChallenge is an intercollegiate competition in collaboration with Green Lancaster, Work in Progress and Northern Powerhouse. The goal is to create an innovative, environmentally sustainable project idea over a six-week period and pitch it to 5 judges: Jan Bebbington, Jonathan Mills, Ian Sturzaker, Georgiana Allison and Anna Mummery.

To summarise, the 7 proposed ideas were:

  • Bowland and Cartmel – Herby LU
  • County – EcoEats
  • Furness and Grizedale – LU Recycle: Expanding recycling on LU Campus
  • Fylde – Greener Futures Summit
  • Pendle A – LanCoin
  • Pendle B – iCycle
  • Lonsdale – BikEvolution

Throughout the competition, participants were invited to attend three masterclasses run by Work in Progress. The winners of the process won a digital cash prize of £500 between the group, as well as the ECOChallenge 2023 Trophy. There is also the opportunity to meet with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor Global, Simon Guy, who focuses on the development of Lancaster University’s digital, international, sustainability and development strategy, and will work with the team to implement their idea. Additionally, the runners-up won a digital cash prize of £250 between their team.

The winners of the ECOChallenge 2023 were County College and their initiative: EcoEats! Their project was around tackling the issue of food waste on campus – and the concomitant issues associated with this reduction such as the cutback on emissions and other agricultural impacts. The group also chose to combat the lack of culinary skills among students, as well as the cost of living crisis.

Their solution to these problems are cooking and meal prep classes. They would encourage vegetarian and plant-based food and diets, as well as reducing food waste, encouraging community building and improving culinary skills. EcoEats plans to use food about to be wasted from outlets on campus, and has already spoken to locations such as the Marketplace about the usage of their kitchen. If you are interested in finding out more, their Instagram handle is @ecoeats_lu.

via @ecoeats_lu on Instagram

Don’t worry if you missed out on participating this year, it is a yearly competition so you can represent your college in 2024, and in the meantime, you can support green and sustainable initiatives we already have on campus such as Green Lancaster.