Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Solution name.

A Sustainable Future

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Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

Harnessing and sharing the power of data to create mindful, sustainable resource consumption habits in the academic setting, one school at a time.

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What specific problem are you trying to solve?

For the average consumer, the phrase "responsible consumption" likely elicits nothing more than thoughts of reusable utensils or organic vegetables. The irresponsible consumption of resources is a dire issue that frequently goes unacknowledged in our society, despite its deleterious implications for the environment. As the human population continues to expand at an ever-growing rate, the callous attitude towards consuming natural resources will hasten global warming and challenge the biodiversity of numerous ecosystems. According to recent estimates, “[t]he global population could grow to 9.7 billion in 2050. The equivalent of almost three planets could be required to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles” (Joint SDG Fund). The issue of irresponsible consumption is not simply straining the world's natural resource supply, but leaving devastating impacts on the environment. 

The irresponsible production and consumption of paper products, for one, is a major contributor to the rising greenhouse gas levels. In 2021, the paper and pulp industry was responsible for emitting 190,000,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions, a historic high in the sector and the 4th largest contribution to greenhouse gas emissions in the US overall (IEA and The World Counts). Numerous paper production companies, such as Charmin, have also failed to comply with basic environmental standards in sourcing paper. To keep up with current resource demands, companies have harvested from Canada's Boreal Forest, the largest remaining intact forest in the world, whose trees are imperative to regulate the content of CO2 in the atmosphere (Hirsh). These companies are engaging in more than just deforestation--clear cutting forests is releasing enormous amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and displacing millions of boreal forest inhabitants. For reference, it takes 500 liters of water, 2 kg of solid waste, and 6% a tree to produce a single stack of paper and 68 million trees a year to fulfill humanity's paper needs (Statista). Although trees are renewable resources, the pace at which they grow makes it difficult to replace felled trees or reverse disruptions to ecosystems. Aside from the 30 million acres of forest that paper production destroys per year, humans then proceed to brutally trash paper; the WB Mason website lists their printer paper as having a post-consumer recycled content of 0%. That is detrimental to the environment, for unrecycled paper emits potent methane that is 25x more toxic for the atmosphere than CO2 (The World Counts).

Paper waste remains an unfortunate reality especially in our schools, whether occurring in classrooms, restrooms, or cafeterias. According to A Sustainable Future's research, the average public high school uses 4 million sheets of paper--400 trees worth--in a single year. Multiply that amount by the number of public schools that exist in the United States, and the result is truly devastating. As the Reflective Educator estimates, educators in the United States use over 47 billion sheets of paper each year (Errera).

Although addressing the irresponsible consumption of paper is hardly a one-step solution, change can start small--starting with our schools.

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Elevator pitch

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What is your solution?

A Sustainable Future (ASF) utilizes a multi-pronged, proactive approach to combat irresponsible paper consumption within the academy setting, through a paper consumption model that allows schools to better predict their paper usage based on various factors. Taking in data collected from the academic setting, A Sustainable Future utilizes machine learning regression models (linear/sinusoidal regression, Anova, Naive-Bayes, etc.) to create a customizable consumption plan that aids schools in minimizing harmful environmental impacts whilst streamlining expenses. The program receives user input for factors like departments of interest, number of faculty members per specified department, average weekly faculty consumption, and month. The user also inputs optional information about their school (student body demographics, total students, etc.) to aid in further training of the model. 

The model then provides a monthly and yearly paper consumption estimate + estimates for the school's expected printing/inking costs, determined from the user's earlier inputs. Most importantly, ASF produces a convenient budgeting plan based on such estimates. The purpose of this estimate is to guide schools in making sustainable and cost-effective decisions regarding paper purchases. Alongside the paper consumption estimate, schools are able to compare their paper consumption to a resource-conscious school's, through both visual data representations and z-scores. 

Finally, the program provides recommendations for schools to mindfully & actively integrate sustainable paper consumption practices. Among those environmentally-conscious solutions, A Sustainable Future hopes to develop a non-digital alternative to paper. We are currently conducting research on existing products in market, like the Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebook, and working towards either forging a partnership or innovating for reduced production costs.

Finally, because the most change is accomplished by many, ASF's website provides students with resources to educate themselves and others on sustainable paper consumption while conducting consumption studies in their own schools!

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Who does your solution serve? In what ways will the solution impact their lives?

A Sustainable Future's solutions serves those who will one day be at the heart of the environmental movement--schools and their students. There are nearly 50 million students attending public school in the United States alone (Census Bureau), and A Sustainable Future hopes to equip every one of them with a greater understanding of irresponsible paper consumption. At A Sustainable Future, we reach others through the expansive mediums of videos and PowerPoints, spreading awareness about the importance of Responsible Consumption and Production of resources, and its implications for sustainability in global communities. While A Sustainable Future's consumption model directly benefits schools (encouraging the responsible use of paper products, limiting amount spent on paper, etc.), it also equips students with the resources needed to become climate activists in their own communities. 

ASF's website, for instance, provides student with access to presentation templates and blank paper consumption surveys for students to distribute and conduct paper consumption studies in their schools. The ultimate mission is for students to design an ideal consumption plan for their school and present it to the school district!

Of course, not every student is given access to the same technological resources; although most students have home internet access following the COVID-19 pandemic wave of virtual learning, more than 2 million studentsare still inadequately connected to learn from home (Education Week Research Center). Nonetheless, A Sustainable Future's sustainable suggestions can be used by ALL, empowering EVERYONE to become an ambassador for the planet. 


Some of ASF's Sustainable Suggestions for School!

Moreover, A Sustainable Future is currently innovating to provide non-paper alternatives that require minimal technological resources (such as a communal version/cloud storage adaptation of Rocketbook's Smart Reusable Notebook). 

Here at A Sustainable Future, we believe that every student deserves to make lasting environmental contributions for their schools! Therefore, we make our resources publicly available on our website, free-of-charge, and easily replicable for all students to use! Additional resources are also available for students to educate themselves on sustainable resource consumption and share that information with their community, thereby broadening the scope of impact. Moreover, we eventually hope to get our consumption model up and running for ALL schools to use (currently, there is only enough data to train for local schools in the area). 

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How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

Considering A Sustainable Future is an environmental movement built by students, for students, it only makes sense for all of our team members to currently be students in America's public education system. We span multiple grade levels, in both middle and high schools. At the same time, through our ability to connect with others with the power of the internet, we've come to understand even more student/school opinions and circumstances more thoroughly. 

Each of our members also has a fair bit of experience with environmental advocacy, seeing as how we all participated in a Capstone project, in which we were encouraged to research one of the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals and write a paper on such. Our SDG in question was SDG 12: the responsible consumption and production of resources. Needless to say, we've done detailed research on the goals of SDG 12 and understand its trajectory towards achieving sustainability on both local and global levels (which we hope to uphold!). 

Beyond those shared experiences, each of our team members brings specific skillsets to the table that we could not conduct our project Our specific qualifications are as follows: 

Current Members:

  1. Shared:
    1. Qualifications:
      1. Passion for SDG 12: Responsible Consumption & Production!
      2. Comprehensive topic knowledge and industry research
      3. Creative thinking skills
      4. Ability to source data from our schools, in touch with our target populations
      5. Experience in website development
      6. Social networking and public speaking skills 
  2. Carolyn
    1. Qualifications:
      1. Basic Python language knowledge
      2. Proficient in networking and community outreach (posting on social media, cold emailing, etc.) 
      3. Confident presenting and public speaking, state-ranked Original Oratory competitor in Speech & Debate 
      4. Basic experience with website builders 
      1. Took AP Computer Science Principles course; adept in using Snap! and Scratch coding languages and creating programs 
      2. Experienced in data analysis and machine learning, having taking the Stanford Inspirit AI program and MIT's BWSI Medlytics program
      3. Previously have conducted research with college professors; experienced in both writing academic papers and data cleaning 
      4. Member of Roots & Shoots Youth Movement
    2. Roles:
      1. Analyze results and findings of data collected
      2. Write academic paper on ASF's findings regarding paper consumption patterns in the academic setting 
      3. Develop paper consumption model and user interface for model
      4. Organize long-term goals for organization 
      5. Conduct research on potential market alternatives to paper products 
      6. Present market and industry updates on sustainability to team members
      7. Represent ASF's interests and brand image to prospective partner organizations
  3. Claire
    1. Qualifications:
      1. Experienced with networking and community outreach (posting on social media, cold emailing, etc.) 
      2. Public speaking skills 
      3. Social media management 
      4. Publicity and design skills (develop brand image) 
      5. Editorial skills
    2. Roles:
      1. Head the aesthetics of ASF's brand image and platform development
      2. Develop and maintain the ASF website, including adding new content ranging from newly-developed recipes to academic papers
      3. Upload content to the ASF YouTube Channel
      4. Expand ASF's presence to more social networking platforms, such as Tik Tok and Instagram
      5. Deliver user feedback to team, be it through social media DMs or survey responses 
      6. Handle general inquiries from ASF's social platforms 

Former Founding Members (no longer working on project):

  1. Melinda 
    1. Co-wrote several sustainable recipes
    2. Helped with the production of early videos (Sustainable Students)
  2. Kisa
    1. Co-wrote several sustainable recipes
    2. Helped with the production of early videos (Sustainable Students)
    3. Provided suggestions for website development 
  3. Shared:
    1. Qualifications:
      1. Industry research
      2. Writing skills
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What steps have you taken to understand the needs of the population you want to serve?

First and foremost, as students, we understand that finding the opportunities to ignite change can be especially daunting without knowing where to start. Therefore, we wanted to make ASF's approach to environmental advocacy as student-friendly as possible, so we initially founded A Sustainable Future with the primary purpose of educating others on sustainable resource consumption through the mediums of videos, sustainable recipes, and presentations. Afterall, change often starts local. That first step--bringing irresponsible consumption to the attention of others--was the first step we needed to take and develop ASF to where it is now. 

For instance, we created and filmed a presentation for elementary schoolers, called Sustainable Students, and started receiving feedback from there. Many of the students were interested in using a similar approach to share what they learned with their loved ones, so we ultimately pivoted to making a "database" to house all of our resources. And thus the A Sustainable Future website was born! 


A Sustainable Future Website Homepage

From there, we spread A Sustainable Future's mission in a number of ways--from social media to volunteering with non-profit organizations! One of our sustainable recipes was adapted for publication at the Interfaith Food Pantry as part of a project we completed as Interfaith Food Pantry Network Teen Council Members. We not only received feedback on our recipes, but were able to spread ASF's mission as well. We were so fortunate to be given the opportunity to advocate for food insecurity while simultaneously sharing our passion for the responsible consumption of resources, particularly with our community members!  

Moreover, we registered ASF's mission with Roots and Shoots USA, the Youth Movement of the Jane Goodall Institute. We ended up winning a mini grant of $250 to use towards ASF's mission. Even more importantly, we received  feedback from Roots and Shoots community members on our project, who suggested that we make resources available for students to carry out projects in their own schools!

Ever since then, it has become A Sustainable Future's top priority to ensure that students of all backgrounds and ages are given the opportunities to make an environmental impact on their schools. As a part of that mission, we sent out a form to gauge interest in ASF's mission through various social platforms, from Instagram to Discord to community forums like GirlUp's

We were able to receive responses from numerous individuals and from schools all across America!

A Sustainable Future Survey Responses (Anonymized)

A Sustainable Future Survey Responses (Anonymized)

These were only a few of the responses we received!

Moreover, we wanted to get a better sense of how students felt about paper alternatives in the classroom setting, so we decided to send out surveys to students on both the middle (42 responses received) and high school (31 responses received) levels about their familiarity with technology. From there, we were able to revise some of our recommended sustainable solutions as needed (by incorporating more technology-based suggestions for schools)!


These were some of the testimonies we received!


Student-related statistics


Examples of some questions asked!

Recently, we have also sourced mentorship from environmental organization with a purpose very similar to ours, called the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. We reached out to their Director of Programs and have received very impactful information! Following our call, we decided to create an impact assessment feedback form to give out the schools after completing our model. Moreover, we reached out to IT and administrative faculty at local schools about their paper purchasing process, so our model may provide more useful information by keeping user needs in mind. After all, our paper consumption/budgeting model was built to aid schools with purchasing paper, not just display statistics ABOUT paper consumption. We were also better able to model a "cohort" program based on how AASHE conducted a similar paper reduction campaign a couple years ago. 

From that, we are currently in the process of revising our model to display environmental impacts of paper consumption so as to give organizations more insight into irresponsible paper consumption as well as more incentive to take up sustainable practices. 

We have also partnered with another like-minded student environmental initiative, The Plastic Project, and are currently collaborating on a plastic consumption model! 

Finally, we have sent inquiries for discussion to representatives of the following organizations: Green Schools Alliance, National Green Schools Society, Green Schools National Network, Sustainable Jersey Schools, Environmental Paper Network, Tree-Plenish, and ClimateWorks.

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Which aspects of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Taking action to combat climate change and its impacts (Sustainability)
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What is your solution’s stage of development?

Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model
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In what city, town, or region is your solution team located?

Randolph, NJ, USA
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Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Carolyn He

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More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

One day, we hope A Sustainable Future can unfurl into a nationwide environment movement, designed by students for students. As of today, many “solutions” for climate change that youth are exposed to can be daunting in both their magnitude and scope, thus discouraging many of our youth from actively participating in the climate movement. According to a Global Climate Change survey conducted by former MIT Solv[ED] winner, ECAP, "40% of youth are very motivated to take more action on climate change but only 3% are very involved". Personally, we, too, have talked to many students who feel they cannot make a tangible environmental impact if they are not Greta Thunberg, per say. A Sustainable Future hopes to destigmatize and alleviate the pressure associated with “saving the environment”, proving that actions needn’t be grand nor bombastic in order to enact true change. Therefore, ASF is one of the first student-led organizations that provides students with the resources (presentations, surveys, program code, etc.) to educate themselves and others on sustainable resource consumption--to conduct local research and initiate their very own environmental movements in school. After all, every student deserves the opportunity to make lasting environmental contributions to academia

Upon launch, we also expect the impact of our consumption model to be far-reaching and resonant, as its purpose caters to a large majority of schools in America. Our paper consumption plan/model can be utilized by any school, as the model is flexible and customizable based on various inputs that users fill in. Moreover, it provides convenient budgeting estimates for schools to reduce costs. Most importantly, it is administration-approved! (We have tested it out at a few schools already).

Aside from the solution itself, our approach is innovative in that it is proactively addressing an issue that many are unaware of, or even worse, choose to ignore. During our initial research phase when conceptualizing ASF, we were surprised by the sheer lack of resources or research conducted on paper consumption within the academic setting. Ironically, schools in the United States are one of the largest paper consumers in the world. We found so little information on academic paper usage that we ultimately decided to conduct our own, thereby innovating research in this area! We would also like to believe that ASF is one of the first student-led organizations to initiate and conduct this type of research (resource consumption) in the local academic setting. 

Although ASF may have started as a local movement, we have faith it will unfurl into a nationwide environmental initiative with the support it needs. This first step--bringing irresponsible consumption to the attention of others--is the first step towards creating A Sustainable Future. As one organization, we can only do so much, but with each student we empower to pursue their own environmental movements, we know our actions can have resounding impacts. It is our generation’s time to innovate for the climate’s future.

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What are your impact goals for the next year, and how will you achieve them?

Although we may have just gotten started in 2022, A Sustainable Future has ambitious plans as it continues to expand and promote sustainability in the new year. A Sustainable Future's goals for 2023 can be best represented in the following 3 categories and with the following 4 impact statements: 


  1. Technological
  2. Social
  3. Financial/Organizational 

Impact Statements:

  1. Improve the accuracy of ASF's paper consumption model to be utilized by any educational institute in the United States 
    1. Amp up crowdsourcing efforts to collect more data from schools nationwide, including sending the prototype for various schools to test out
    2. Ask for user feedback, particularly from local schools 
    3. Gather local data from Morris Hills Regional District and Randolph Township District schools and continue to train paper consumption model
    4. Utilize more data analysis techniques, such as Anova, Naive Bayes, and Quadratic Regression 
    5. Source additional mentorship to gain input on model as needed 
  2. Publish the paper consumption model that will assist schools in the United States to minimize extraneous paper consumption while simultaneously streamlining expenses
    1. Polish up the user-interface prototype on Snap! and get feedback from the Snap! community 
    2. Finetune user interface after receiving feedback from schools 
    3. Code app to house consumption model with interactive user interface 
    4. Apply for a software patent for our consumption model while still allowing students to utilize similar code 
    5. Conduct research on the effectiveness of model post implementation 
  3. Strengthen the ASF Network and increase our presence to promote sustainability on communal, digital, and academic levels 
    1. Reapproach district with budgeting plan and advocate for potential implementation 
    2. Complete research paper on Paper Consumption within the Academic Setting and publish it to various student journals and scientific expositions 
    3. Reinvigorate networking attempts with local community and broader communities to spread A Sustainable Future's consumption model and website through content creation and posting 
    4. Inquire into and form partnerships with various environmentally-minded organizations, such as Rocketbook
    5. Increase the number of ASF member schools from diverse academic backgrounds throughout the United States.
    6. Increase our digital presence by creating official accounts for ASF on more social media platforms such as Tiktok and YouTube
    7. Create written compositions (articles & blog posts) and host presentations at school to raise awareness about A Sustainable Future and its mission, particularly on a local level
    8. Finish up collaborative model with The Plastic Project and release the model for that as well
    9. If possible, inquire into speaking on podcasts, clubs, and/or webinars to discuss sustainable resource consumption
  4. Increase user traffic on the ASF website while improving the content and resources currently available 
    1. Buy a domain for A Sustainable Future! 
    2. Improve user experience by adding features to enhance the website's functionality, such as automated 24/7 user support and adding additional user-interactive interfaces
    3. Reorganize website layout to be more user friendly; improve upon current aesthetics 
    4. Better present and organize resources currently available on website (write captions and tutorials)
    5. Add more resources and content relating to current events in the industry/sector 
    6. Source mentorship from individuals more experienced in website development 
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Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

As of right now, A Sustainable Future’s technological outputs are still in production, but our other ventures employ a vast array of technology, whose functions will be described below: 

  1.  A Wix Website and URL: 
    1. Developed the ASF website using the Wix Website builder, currently on the free subscription plan 
      1. The ASF website is an integral part of our project--the digital culmination of months worth of hard work and advocacy 
      2.  All of our resources and findings are presented solely online; without modern-day technology, spreading ASF’s mission would also be significantly more challenging 
  2. Google Suite Applications: 
    1. Google Forms: used to distribute surveys 
      1. Student Technology survey
      2. Faculty Paper Consumption survey
      3. Teacher-purposes digital/paper preference survey
    2. Gmail: We correspond with nationwide ASF members primarily via email for both accessibility and professional decorum
    3. Google Sheets: utilized during the data cleaning process  
    4. Google Colab: platform of choice (due to easy sharing ability and accessibility to computational resources like GPUs) to process the data and perform data analysis
      1. Python coding language used extensively
  3. Artificial Intelligence and Statistical Regression Models (Machine Learning):  
    1. Linear and Sinusoidal Regression: polynomial approach for modeling relationships between an explanatory and response variable (models that predict the value of a variable based on the value of another variable)
    2. Linear regression was used to evaluate the relationship between "Jobs" and "Total Printed Pages" as well as "Department Size" and "Total Printed Pages"
    3. Sinusoidal regression was used to evaluate the relationship between "Month" and "Total Printed Pages" per department 
    4. Anova: short for "analysis of variance"; a collection of statistical models and their associated estimation procedures used to analyze the differences among means
      1. Used to evaluate the relationship between "Department Type" and "Average Printed Pages" 
  4. Microsoft Office Applications:
    1. PowerPoint: used to create and film original educational videos 
    2. Forms: used to gather data from middle school students 
  5. Canva:
    1. Digital design tool utilized to create ASF’s logo, promotional flyers, and infographics 
    2. Elevator pitch video edited using Canva; used elsewhere on website
    3. Additional presentationsthat are featured on the ASF website were created using the Canva interface      
  6. Snap! 
    1. Blocks-based programming language built by UC Berkeley
    2. Used to code original prototype user interface was coded 
      1. Chosen for simplicity and user accessibility
  7. Various Social Media Platforms: 
    1. Used for crowdsourcing data to use in models
    2. Networking with ASF member schools  

 As A Sustainable Future continues to evolve as an organization and an environmental movement, we hope to update existing technology while incorporating even more technology into our solution, including:

  • Forming a partnership with Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebooks
    • Innovate to create a more budget-friendly and resource-efficient option for low-income schools
  • Creating another consumption model (for plastic) from data collected using various technologies!
    • The plastic consumption model is in collaboration with The Plastic Project 
  • Programming our very own website! 
    • Utilizing GitHub or Weebly
  • Using Python and/or Javascript to transfer the consumption model user interface from Snap! to an app 
  • Deepening our presence on even more social media platforms 
    • Instagram and TikTok, for instance
    • Create a linktree 

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
  • Big Data
  • Crowd Sourced Service / Social Networks
  • Materials Science
  • Software and Mobile Applications
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • United States
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How many people does your solution currently serve, and how many do you plan to serve in the next year? If you haven’t yet launched your solution, tell us how many people you plan to serve in the next year.

A Sustainable Future's consumption model is currently in its prototyping stage and therefore will not serve any people until after launch. 

After its launch, A Sustainable Future expects to serve the entire Morris Hills community: 1,216 students in the student body and over 150 faculty members. We are also hoping to see impacts on Randolph Middle School. 

Within the next year, we hope to share A Sustainable Future's consumption model with Morris Hill's sister school, Morris Knolls, and the entire Randolph Township School District. This would directly and meaningfully affect over 6,314 students altogether. 

Oftentimes, change starts local, and although ASF's project may have started small, we have faith it will unfurl into a nationwide environmental initiative with the support and exposure it needs, ultimately serving 98,577 public education institutions in the US.

As for the A Sustainable Future website, it has served over 70 monthly users since its launch and supports 22 member schools. 


ASF Website Analytics

A Sustainable Future Survey Responses (Anonymized)

Some of our member schools; names are omitted for privacy 

Moreover, due to our networking efforts with various non-profit environmental organizations, we are hoping to expand our impact even more! We have already started by forming a collaboration with The Plastic Project, another student-run environmental initiative, and sourcing mentorship from various environmental organizations, such as the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)

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What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year?

  1. Exposure
    1. While we have achieved a certain degree of success in sharing ASF's mission, it is still harder to maintain high streams of traction and branch out to more individuals without seeming too pushy
    2. Cultural: changing the attitude around resource consumption (specifically paper)
      1. Paper has been utilized within academia for so long, so it was initially difficult to implement widespread change as our schools was pretty resistant to cutting down on usage
      2. Managed to work out a compromise, however, with the power of data! (although this may not be the case for all students)
      3. It is easy to dismiss the negative impacts that academic paper consumption has on the environment, especially as it 
    3. Financial: we have yet to buy a domain for the A Sustainable Future website, because they are super expensive! 
  2. Data sourcing and collection
    1. Forms must be designed and distributed to minimize bias as much as possible 
      1. Difficult if it is hard to distribute surveys in the first place 
      2. Random sampling methods are tedious (but necessary!)
    2. Legal: IRB Forms
      1. All student researchers must first obtain IRB approval before administering any surveys to students
      2. The process--although not arduous--can delay response rates to surveys, as students had to receive additional parental permission to fill out the survey. 
  3. Forming partnerships
    1. Convincing schools to use our consumption model
      1. Schools already have their own methods of determining how many funds they allocate towards certain resources, even if those funds are ill-spent
      2. Time/logistics: Not to mention this usually happens in the beginning/end of the year
    2. Difficult to guarantee all students can implement/propose their consumption plans
      1. Organizing meetings with Boards of Educations (district supervisors) may be harder to students in certain areas due to busy schedules
      2. Our meeting was relatively brief, ~20 minutes, but we're hoping to organize another one and replicate our success next year or at the end of this year! 
    3. Market barrier: We are interested in developing a non-technological alternative to paper products, similar to the product Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebook. Alternatively, we would like to partner with Rocketbook to provide products to low-income schools that may have difficulties reducing their paper usage without the use of technology
      1. Rocketbook, as a highly successful organization, will likely unwilling to make a partnership with ASF until ASF gains more exposure
        1. Ties back into first issue of exposure
  4. Polishing our consumption model
    1. Logistic: Hard to do without sufficient data that is representative of most schools in America
      1. Need more crowd-sourcing to collect data!
      2. Another issue of exposure 
    2. Technical: Our user interface is definitely still a work-in-progress - eventually we hope to make an app! 

Despite these hurdles, we are committed to ensuring that A Sustainable Future can accomplish its goals for the future. With the proper mentorship, support, and exposure that ASF needs, we know we can face these setbacks head-on--powering forward to accomplish the impact, innovation, and success of A Sustainable Future.

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Your Team

How many people work on your solution team?

2 (full-time staff), 12 (partner organization) 2 (former members), 6 (mentors)

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How long have you been working on your solution?

4 months (10 months since the conception of the idea)

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What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?

A Sustainable Future currently works with two wonderful organizations to accomplish its environmental endeavors:

  • Morris Hills High School
    • Instrumental in helping A Sustainable Future gather the necessary data to design our model
    • Numerous academic mentors to assist ASF throughout the data collection process (IRB forms, etc.) 
  • Randolph Middle School
    • Instrumental in helping A Sustainable Future gather the necessary data to design our model
    • Fantastic, supportive network of teachers always willing to offer guidance on ASF's project ideas
  • The Plastic Project
    • Collaborating with another student-run environmental initiative to create a consumption model for plastic
    • Have already supported one another through social media :) 
  • Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)
    • In close contact with AASHE's Director of Programs
    • *NOT* an official partnership but we have received meaningful feedback and mentorship on our paper consumption model
    • We have also been supported to model our approach after a program of theirs 
  • Looking to partner with Rocketbook!
    • *NOT* an official partnership
    • Have yet to contact Rocketbook directly (aside from cold-emailing) 
  • Interfaith Food Pantry Network
    • Members have volunteered as IFPN Teen Council Members
    • Shared a few sustainable recipes with IFPN 
    • *NOT* an official partnership
  • Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots Organization
    • Received $250 grant from Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots Organization
    • Also received additional feedback from Roots & Shoots on our project direction, although it is not currently an official partnership

While we are not currently partnered with any environmental companies or organizations, we plan to increase our outreach efforts in 2023.

We have already started by reaching out to the following nonprofit environmental organizations: Green Schools Alliance, National Green Schools Society, Green Schools National Network, Sustainable Jersey Schools, Environmental Paper Network, Tree-Plenish, and ClimateWorks.

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Business Model

What is your business model?

Project: A Sustainable Future

  • Key Resources:
    • For students - ASF Website, access to internet, account linked to Google suites 
    • For schools - ASF Consumption Model, access to internet, ASF app and/or website 
  • Key Activities:
    • For students:
      • Provide students resources with which to educate themselves and other on sustainable resource consumption 
      • Give student guidelines on how to conduct research on academic paper consumption within their own schools 
    • For schools: 
      • Provide schools with ASF's consumption model, which can be used to better estimate their paper consumption on a monthly + yearly basis
      • Compare a user school's paper consumption to a similar, but more sustainable school
      • Recommend simple practices to aid schools in increasing sustainability, while fostering a sustainable mindset in students as well 
      • Provide schools with a recommended budgeting plan / spending estimate to streamline costs and minimize their impact on the environment 
    • General:
      • Collect paper consumption data from member schools 
      • Update user interface as the consumption model is trained 
  • Type of Intervention (products/services):
    • Product (free): ASF Paper Consumption Model
    • Resources: Sustainability presentations, sustainable recipes, research structure/guidelines/materials 
  • Segments:
    • Customers:
      • Schools (consumption model is free-of-charge to use) 
    • Beneficiaries: 
      • Schools and students 
  • Value Proposition: 
    • For students: 
      • Educating themselves and other on sustainable resource consumption using the resources provided by the ASF website
      • Conducting research on academic paper consumption within their own schools 
    • For schools:  
      • Use ASF's consumption model to better estimate their paper consumption on a monthly + yearly basis
      • Compare their paper consumption to a similar, but more sustainable school
      • Receive simple suggestions on how to incorporate more eco-friendly practices to increase sustainability in the academic setting
      • Cut out unnecessary paper expenses 
    • Impact Measures: 
      • # of Member Schools 
        • # of total students impacted 
      • # of schools that have used the consumption model
      • # of website users 
      • # of students opened to the topic of SDG 12: Sustainable Resource Consumption 
  • Partners + Key Stakeholders:
    • Wix website builder 
    • (Currently) Snap! user interface
    • (Future plans) ASF app 
  • Channels:
  • Cost Structure:
    • Currently: none
    • Future: website domain and maintenance fees, hosting ASF convention, developing a non-digital paper alternative 
  • Surplus:
    • Sustainable recipes and presentations 
  • Revenue:
    • Hosting events such as the ASF convention
    • Applying for grants
    • Entering into competitions for prize funds
    • Optional donations / potential collaborations with like-minded climate organizations 

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What is your path to financial sustainability?

A Sustainable Future has been incredibly fortunate thus far to have received generous grants from environmental organizations such as Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Organization. 


Email containing the grant we received 

While these grants are not sustained, ASF does have several ideas to fund its work in the upcoming future, namely plans to host an environmental convention. 

The "A Sustainable Future" convention would be a dual conference and fundraising event with the purpose of collecting data, raising awareness, and expanding the ASF Network! At this event, we would educate attendees through a variety of manners. First, we would to bring in panel speakers to discuss current environmental matters and workshop ways to become upstanding, responsible citizens to the environment. Presentations would also introduce ASF's mission, with aims of encouraging attendees and their schools to become members of the ASF Network. All during this time, attendees can buy upcycled wares from artisans. Such goods will be hand-crafted, sustainable, and designed if not from, then to promote, eco-friendly practices! The ultimate mission of the convention would be to inspire future environmental activists while also supporting ASF’s mission.

Hosting and gaining traction for the convention will evidently require funding as well. To help mitigate costs, ASF has also applied for a grant of up to $1000 from the United Nations’ GirlUp initiative. We are currently awaiting the results of the application, which are due to come out in late February/early March. 

Luckily, ASF, as an organization, requires minimal funding to maintain its operations in the first place. The only expenses we foresee paying in the future are to buy a website domain and maintain our website. While website domains can be extraordinarily expensive--especially the prospective ones we were considering for ASF--we are hoping that our applications for various grants and awards, such as the one for MIT’s Youth Solv[ED] competition, can supplement our existing funds. 


Domains are truly very expensive!

Alternatively, we can form partnerships with various non-profit environmental organizations and organize additional fundraisers and drives from there. Seeing as ASF currently has no products on the market nor produces any products (as all of our contributions are accessible online), there is no substantial need to raise immediate funds, aside from purchasing a domain for the ASF website.

Purchasing a domain does, however, remain one of ASF’s top priorities; therefore, we will continue to apply for grants and science fair awards as necessary.

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