The Sustainable Schools Challenge (S² Challenge) was developed by the South Central Solid Waste Authority (SCSWA).  The S² Challenge is meant to inspire and cultivate environmental advocates and to motivate students and teachers to think both locally and globally about how taking simple actions can help the environment.  The S² Challenge’s philosophy is that small steps taken today can make a world of difference tomorrow.  This educational competition is intended to supports the school environmental and/or recycling programs provided throughout New Mexico.

S2 Challenge Overview

The S² Challenge is an educational “competition” intended to engage students, teachers, school administrators and staff, parents and the surrounding community in understanding and implementing practical strategies that can help to reduce carbon dioxide (C0₂) emissions and other greenhouse gas emissions, reduce solid waste and consumption and to help encourage recycling and other environmentally sound behaviors. By improving energy efficiency, reducing waste and consumption, increasing recycling and improving our transportation behavior, participants will learn how simple actions can make a big impact on helping the environment and their community. All educational activities are intended to align with Next Generation Science standards. Activities can be downloaded at no cost here.


For each teacher who accepts the Sustainable Schools Challenge have them take a Sustainability Promise to educate students about actions they can take to reduce their carbon footprint at school and home. Try to implement new actions and reward students for their accomplishments. Remember, the school with the most teachers participating wins!  Teachers are also encouraged to use the activities provided in this toolkit to help educate students on various topics pertaining to environmental issues such as climate change, solar energy and energy efficiency, solid waste and recycling management, consumption, etc.
    Challenge Goals
  • Educate students on environmental issues and everyday actions they can take to reduce their impact both locally and globally
  • Reduce carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions for their school and within the community
  • Encourage student leadership and empowerment
  • Foster a new generation of environmental advocates
  • Foster a community of teacher and students working together to engage parents, peers and the community to reduce their carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions.


The Challenge will be held from:  October 1, 2018 to October 31, 2018.  The S² Challenge Ambassador should ask teacher to participate by submitting the S² Sustainability Promise.

Dates to Remember:

October 1, 2018:                 The S² Challenge begins and teachers begin taking the S² Sustainability Promise.

October 1, 2018 – March 30, 2018:  Schools implement the S² Challenge (follow toolkit, implement projects, collect and/or enter promises) at their school.

October 31, 2018:               Challenge ends.

November 9, 2018:            Deadline to submit your Our Sustainability Journey Story.

November 2018:                 Results of the Challenge are announced.