Two CSU–Pueblo students are finalists in national environmental competition

Two Colorado State University-Pueblo students are among 10 finalists in a nationwide collegiate environmental competition for their proposals to create a “green” business directory and a documentary film that educates students to reduce their waste and energy use.

Senior biology major Jessica Viges and sophomore music major Karina Hoeppner both will receive $500 grants and training from The People Speak and Americans for Informed Democracy as part of the Climate Crews competition, which challenged college students nationwide to propose innovative campaign ideas around the issues of climate change and how to make a positive impact on their campuses. The student with the most innovative and successful campaign, as determined by an on-line voting process in the Spring, will receive an additional $500.

Viges and Hoeppner are in the company of students from larger and prestigious universities like Texas A&M, University of Maryland, Kansas State University, Columbia, and Hofstra. The names of all finalists and their winning proposals may be found at

Viges and Hoeppner helped charter the Students for Environmental Awareness (SEA) student organization last spring and currently serve as president and vice president, respectively.

Hoeppner and her SEA colleagues will create a “Green Pages” for the Pueblo community – listing businesses that make efforts to address environmental issues through lower energy consumption, recycling, using organic and local food products, etc. She hopes to print the directory on recycled paper and to distribute it at no charge to interested persons by Earth Day in April.

Viges will have her SEA peers conduct a campus survey to track waste production and energy consumption by individuals on campus and create a documentary film to raise awareness of the steps people can take to reduce their waste and energy resources. Both also will be required to film a 2-5 minute training video which will be available for other campuses to use in their efforts to implement similar programs. Viges moved to Pueblo from Portland, Ore., where recycling was a way of life.

The 10 finalists received an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. earlier in the month to attend workshops and meetings with the sponsoring organizations to exchange ideas and to learn more about available equipment and possible resources for their projects.

In addition to working on their award-winning projects, the two will lead SEA in sponsoring a Focus the Nation event from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. on January 31 in the OUC Ballroom. Focus the Nation is a national effort through campuses across the country to educate others about global warming. The day-long event on the CSU-Pueblo campus will feature workshops, panels, booths by area environmental organizations, and a film. Groups or individuals interested in participating in the Focus the Nation event or contributing to the completion of either of the Climate Crew projects may call Hoeppner at 719-994-0094 or e-mail her at

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