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WSI Bank of the West Clean Energy Challenge, SDG 7WSI

Design a product, service, or initiative that empowers school communities to help speed the transition to clean energy.

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Making progress on SDG 7 requires innovative ideas and there's a good chance that some game-changing ideas will originate with student innovators like you because some of the most exciting opportunities are in school communities.

Schools can help drive the switch to clean energy by reducing use of fossil fuels by conserving energy or adopting energy-saving solutions, switching to renewables, or producing clean energy through solar panels, wind turbines,or even devices that convert and store kinetic energy. Schools can also play an important role as catalysts for or organizers of community action.

Your challenge from Bank of the West is to come up with a solution for advancing SDG 7 that could be implemented in your school community.

Whether you're in middle school, high school or college, there are likely many ways that your school community could be part of the clean energy solution. How can you identify those opportunities? You might start by thinking about your own school day and how you yourself consume energy. Or you might consider the activities that are going on around you and the ways you see energy being consumed by others.

Another way to approach to brainstorming for this challenge would be to look at the assets a school has: maybe you're in a rambling, flat-roofed building that would be great for a solar installation or you're situated on top of a hill with a strong average wind speed that could drive a turbine. Yet another avenue to explore potential opportunities is to ask what connections your school has to the neighborhood around it and whether you can become the center of some collective action.

Think about your school and the broader community that comes together around your school – not just students and teachers but also administrators and staff, parents and extended family of students, neighborhood organizations students and families may be active in, local businesses that support school sports teams, not to mention coaches and fans, and so on.

When you start identifying all the different ways a school is connected to the community that surrounds it, you might be surprised at how long your list gets. But activating that bigger community is the way to start a movement.

And, if you need more motivation, consider this: investment in clean energy could play a huge role in economic recovery. If you're in a neighborhood that's been hit hard by COVID-19 the and pandemic-related recession, your school-based clean energy innovation or initiative could be just the thing to spark entrepreneurship, attract capital, and create new green jobs.

Bank of the West

We are driven by our fundamental belief in redefining banking for a better future. At a time when people demand more from companies, we are taking action to ensure our activities help protect the planet, improve people's lives, and strengthen communities. That's why we are focusing on areas where we can have a real impact: supporting energy transition, helping enable women entrepreneurs and financing innovative start-ups. As the bank for a changing world, Bank of the West is committed to sustainable finance along with our parent company BNP Paribas. Through Digital Channels and offices across the U.S., Bank of the West provides financial tools and resources to more than 2 million individuals, families and businesses. © 2019 Bank of the West. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender. Doing business in South Dakota as Bank of the West California. Learn more

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"One of the most exciting trends we see today is young people leading action on the Global Goals through innovative startups, social enterprises, youth-centered initiatives, and collaborative partnerships that bring together thinkers from business, government and academic circles. We all have to get involved to address the greatest threats facing our planet today."

John Finley / SVP, Head of Customer Experience, Bank of the West

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