Judges named for $100,000 UW-Madison climate contest

January 21, 2010

Ten high-profile business people, government officials, educators, and activists will choose the winners this spring in the second Climate Leadership Challenge at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Led by Tracey Holloway, director of the Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment at UW-Madison, the panel of judges includes: * Lynn Hobbie, senior vice president, Madison Gas & Electric Company * Judy Ziewacz, executive director, Wisconsin Office of Energy Independence * Susan Stratton, executive director, Energy Center of Wisconsin * Linda Bochert, partner, Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP * Kathe Crowley Conn, president and executive director, Aldo Leopold Nature Center * Peter Taglia, staff scientist, Clean Wisconsin * Gregg Mitman, interim director, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies * Dan Anderson, professor, Wisconsin School of Business and Nelson Institute * Greg Nemet, assistant professor, La Follette School of Public Affairs and Nelson Institute With prizes totaling up to $100,000 for student ideas to counteract climate change, this year's Climate Leadership Challenge is the most lucrative college or university competition of its kind in the country, according to Holloway. The contest is open to all UW-Madison students. The most action-ready idea will win its creators $50,000 plus a $5,000 promotional trip and an option for a free one-year lease in the University Research Park's new Metro Innovation Center on Madison's east side. The most innovative technical and non-technical ideas will receive awards of $15,000 each, and the runner-up for the most action-ready idea will win $10,000. "We really want to see implementation of the best ideas offered," says Holloway, whose center is staging the contest. "The purpose of this competition is to make an impact on climate change." A local group of benefactors called the Global Stewards Society is sponsoring the competition for the second year in a row. The group includes John F. and Mary Cooper; Gary and Ellora Cooper; Christine Cooper; John and Mary K. Noreika; Peter Vogel of Vogel Brothers Building Company; David Beck-Engel of J.H. Findorff & Son; and Scott J. Repert of Superior Health Linens. Approximately eight finalists will present their ideas April 20 at the Nelson Institute's Earth Day Conference at Madison's Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. The award winners will be announced a day later at the conference. An informational meeting about the Climate Leadership Challenge will be held January 28, and a team-forming meeting will be held February 2 for students interested in competing on a team. Both meetings will take place at 6 p.m. in 175 Science Hall on the UW-Madison campus. Submissions are due by March 25. Finalists will be announced April 6. Students planning to participate in the Wisconsin School of Business' G. Steven Burrill Business Plan Competition may also submit their ideas to the Climate Leadership Challenge if they address climate change. The annual Burrill contest encourages teams of UW-Madison to compete for cash prizes and includes a special award from the Nelson Institute for the best "green" business plan. For more information, visit the Climate Leadership Challenge web page or contact the CLC student coordinator, Keith Cronin.