Ecochallenge & International Education Week

November 13-17, 2023

The annual Ecochallenge event, run in coordination with International Education Week, will have the theme of Braided Knowledges for a Sustainable Future: Rivers, Indigenous Communities, and Justice

Join the Ecochallenge to participate in a campus-wide sustainability initiative to make our community greener! The Ecochallenge is a week-long program that has daily events and activities that students, faculty, and staff can participate in to earn points. At the end of the week, there will be prizes for those who earned the most points! Register here and learn more about the weekly activities through our preview document (download PowerPoint version). These are the daily topics for this year's challenge:


Graphic of Community Holding Hands

Day 1: Community & Justice

The best way to create change is to do it together. By building inclusive and thoughtful communities to share experiences and expertise, we're envisioning a sustainable future for everyone.

Example Actions

Connect with a nonprofit
Learn about equity and inclusion
Buy from a farmers market

Graphic of renewable energy options

Day 2: Climate Crisis

While it's important to tackle dangerous forces threatening our climate, we must also take care of ourselves to make the greatest impact. You'll find actions for both on this day.

Example Actions

Go on Mindful Self-Guided Tour
Adjust the Thermostat
Support Resilient Power Grids

Graphic of Food

Day 3: Food & Water

It's not just about what we're consuming, it's about where it comes from. How are systems working to preserve local communities, thriving economies, and natural resources?

Example Actions

Eat Local
Lower Your Water "Footprint"
Attend the International Dinner

Graphic of Mountains and Clouds

Day 4: Conservation & Biodiversity

We live on an incredible world full of awe-inspiring creatures and landscapes. Learn more about conservation efforts around the world and locally, and discover the nature in your backyard!

Example Actions:

Support Local Pollinators
Spend Time Outside
Join an Outdoor Project

Bin with a recycling sign over it

Day 5: Rethink Waste

Where does our waste go once we're done with it? By reducing waste at the start of the process, we're minimizing the impact of our purchases and are practicing thoughtful consumerism.

Example Actions:

Visit the Spider Exchange
Compost Food Scraps
Visit a Refill Store

This week is a phenomenal opportunity for learning, engagement, and partnership across campus. Find new ways to incorporate sustainable living into your daily life, connect with new peers, and earn points to win prizes! Sign up for this year's Ecochallenge. 

Ecochallenge Events

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  • Tuesday, 9:00 am-5:00 pm: Mindful Self-Guided Eco-Corridor Tour

    Mindful Self-Guided Eco-Corridor Tour 
    🌼 Reflect. Relax. Breathe. 

    9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. | The Eco-Corridor 

    Need some space to relax and unwind? Visit the Eco-Corridor anytime today from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for a self-guided meditative tour. Along the Eco-Corridor, you will find mindfulness stations that will have meditative activities such as prompts for slowing down, interacting with nature, and taking sensory breaks. Escape the hustle and bustle of your daily schedule for a moment of solitude or bring a friend to share the experience.

  • Tuesday, 11:00 am-2:00 pm: The Power of Seeds

    The Power of Seeds 
    🌾 Find new ways to feed your stem-and-leaf addiction

    11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. | Heilman Dining Center

    Stop by DHall to learn about ways to engage in sustainable food and planting! Visit our table to browse through our seed library, learn about local fruit and vegetables from farmers in our area, and find ways to engage with local nonprofits working with food security and sustainable growing!

  • Tuesday, 7:00-9:00 pm: Headwaters Down Film Screening and Q&A

    Headwaters Down Film Screening and Q&A
    🐟 You’ve seen the James River, but what if you could explore 13 days of it?
    7:00 - 9:00 p.m. | The International Education Commons 

    Join us for a screening of the award-winning documentary Headwaters Down at the International Commons! Learn about the James River, a wonderful resource right here in the backyard of Richmond, and hear from the filmmakers in a Q&A. Insomnia cookies will be provided.

  • Wednesday, 1:30-2:30 pm: Eco-Corridor Tour: Abby’s Garden and Stream Bed

    Eco-Corridor Tour: Abby’s Garden and Stream Bed
    🥦 Abundant landscapes are fueling nature and filling bellies
    1:30-2:30 p.m. | Eco-Corridor

    Discover the lush environment of the Eco-Corridor that supports a variety of flora and fauna through it rich ecological composition. Learn more about Abby’s garden, and see what’s sprouting up in the fall growing season. There will be plenty of ways to get involved with the garden this year as a student, faculty or staff member - come find out how to get started!

  • Thursday, 4:00-5:00 pm: Eco-Corridor Tour and iNaturalist Bioblitz

    Eco-Corridor Tour and iNaturalist Bioblitz
    🐦Birds, butterflies, beetles - OH MY!

    4:00-5:00 p.m. | Eco-Corridor

    Help us take inventory of diverse plant and animal species in our very own Eco-Corridor here on campus. Through this bioblitz, we hope to shed light on just how many creatures are living in this lush green landscape, and we’ll learn a few new names along the way. During the bioblitz, we will be using the app iNaturalist to record all discoveries. That way, we can start a community collection of identifications to be built upon by anyone who visits the area.

  • Friday, 11:30 am-12:30 pm: Solar Tour and Climate Action Plan Update

    Solar Tour and Climate Action Plan Update
    ☀️ Feel the power of the sun right here on campus
    11:30 a.m - 12:30 p.m. | Weinstein Center for Recreation Roof

    How does solar power play a role in powering our campus? Join us for a tour of UR’s solar power infrastructure on the roof of the Weinstein Center for Recreation at 11:30 a.m. Learn more from sustainability experts about what UR is doing to meet electricity needs through renewable energy sources and hear updates on our Climate Action Plan.