A new worldwide challenge encourages college students to adopt sustainable habits.

Jan. 21 marked the first day of the Small Steps, Big Wins Campus Challenge that aims to inspire college students worldwide to take small, personal actions to positively and collectively effect major social and environmental change.

Launched by Net Impact, a nonprofit that works with young people to further social and sustainability initiatives, the challenge aims to reach 50 campuses and approximately 300,000 students by May 2013. Other sponsors include the Alcoa Foundation, Microsoft, 3M, Avon, Johnson & Johnson, and Target.

“We know that creating a more sustainable world all at once is challenging, therefore we’re asking students to start by taking small steps towards making positive social and environmental changes,” said Liz Maw, CEO of Net Impact. “By participating in the challenge, they can begin solving some of the world’s toughest problems. We hope that these young people will begin a lifelong journey to improve the world.”


The Challenge will last 14 weeks and pit campuses against one another to prove which college is most focused on implementing change. Students are invited to track their individual impactful actions and record them through the challenge’s website or Facebook app.

(Next page: More details about the challenge—and how it’s affecting students’ goals and career paths)