WRITTEN BY: SAM BOTWINICK
On Thursday night, Valerie Frolova couldn’t contain her excitement. Frolova was chosen as one of 16 finalists in the world to attend the 2015 Project Green Challenge (PGC) Summit in San Francisco. There, the Temple sophomore architecture student will have the opportunity to discuss her ideas with environmental leaders.
But before she arrives in California, Frolova will have had to complete a series of environmentally-conscious tasks throughout a 30-day period in October.
Once she registered at projectgreenchallenge.com, Frlova began to receive challenges for each day that needed to be completed by the end of the day. She received points, based on her challenge level, after completing each round.
Points account for a quarter of the PGC judges’ criteria for determining participants’ final results. A final exam and a video showcasing a student’s 30-day progress are the other two factors that determine the finalists. For Frolova, the video has helped her tremendously.
“I just wanted to show [people] how all those little changes they make on a daily basis can actually have a big impact on the environment, on their health, and on the health of the planet,” Frolova said. “Everybody can make those changes. It’s easy, but because we are lazy and comfortable, we stick to what we’re used to doing.
“If you can sometimes change those things, the way I described them in the video, it could make a really big difference,” Frolova said. “That was kind of like my idea throughout the video.”
Landry Bado – also a sophomore architecture major – helped Frolova shoot her final video. While they helped each other get through the Green Challenge and have remained in close contact since, their friendship began at freshman orientation.
Even though Bado, who is originally from West Africa, couldn’t complete his Green Challenge this year, he remains inspired, even after the event ended. He also learned a great deal about sustainability during the two weeks that he partook in the challenges. Bado credits Frolova’s work ethic and her appreciation of good friends for their strong friendship.
“I would say that it has positively affected our relationship,” Bado said. “We were already close, but her seeing that I was willing to help her, when I was also already part of the same challenge, made her really appreciate our friendship. I had a lot of satisfaction seeing her grow throughout the whole challenge and becoming what she has become now.”
The summit, which took place from November 20-22, was broken up into three components. For the first two days, the finalists were introduced to the challenge’s founders and to other environmentally-conscious leaders. Sunday was all about the students.
After two meals, workshops and presentations, the students present their challenge findings. At 6:30, the winner – who will receive more than six thousand dollars in prize money – will be announced. While Frolova hopes to walk away with the title, she says she’s certain she’ll be involved in the challenge next year with or without the victory.