See full details and apply at

Challenge Description


Many communities face greater environmental exposures and public health risks due to a history of inequitable environmental policies and access to the decision-making process. Environmental justice (EJ) is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.

EPA and partners have launched the Environmental Justice (EJ) Video Challenge for Students to enhance communities’ capacity to address environmental and public health inequities. The goals of the challenge are to:

  1. Inspire students at accredited colleges and universities in the United States and its territories to work directly with communities in the identification and characterization of EJ challenges using data and publicly available tools, and
  2. Help communities (including residents and other stakeholders) address EJ challenges and/or vulnerabilities to environmental and public health hazards using data and publicly available tools.

The Challenge

This EJ Video Challenge for Students is structured in two separate phases, each with their own timelines. A brief description of each phase is noted below.

Phase 1

The goal of Phase 1 is for students to create a video to demonstrate innovative approaches to identify and characterize an EJ issue(s) in a select community using data and publicly available tools. Students will submit a video that meets requirements outlined in the Video Submission Requirements – Phase 1 section below.

Students are strongly encouraged to work in teams and identify and collaborate with community organizations that may bring important understanding and perspective to the EJ challenge(s) the community is facing.

Check out EJ Video Challenge: Tools and Data Resources for ideas to get started. Students are welcome to use other data and publicly available tools that are not already listed.

Phase 2

In Phase 2, students will develop a video to display how they used data and publicly available tools to identify strategies and opportunities to address an identified EJ issue(s) and worked with a community-based organization(s) to inform strategies for intervention and/or facilitated effective community engagement and advocacy on the EJ issues. Details on the specific requirements and prizes for Phase 2 will be shared at a later date.

Challenge Co-Sponsor Organizations

The below organizations are co-sponsoring this challenge.

  • American Public Health Association (APHA)
  • Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities – Network (EPIC-N)
  • Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)
  • Environmental Justice (peer-reviewed journal)
  • Groundwork USA

How to Enter

Submitting Your Phase 1 Entry

To enter this Challenge, teams must complete the following steps as noted below.

  1. Post your video submission to YouTube as an unlisted video.
  2. Upload your video in the proper file format (see Video Specifications) to Dropbox, WeTransfer, or Google Drive.
  3. Send the following items via email to by the deadline.
    1. Email Subject Line: EJ Video Challenge for Students Video Submission
    2. YouTube link for the video entry
    3. Link to uploaded video from Dropbox, WeTransfer, or Google Drive.
    4. All required paperwork (see Required Paperwork)

NOTE: Emails must be kept to under 9 megabytes to ensure your submission is not blocked by EPA servers.

Requirements for Your Phase 1 Video Submission

Each video should include the following content:

  •  Description of the innovative approach to identify and characterize an EJ issue(s) in a select community
  • Overview and characterization of the EJ problem(s)/issues the tool(s) and data can address/solve
  • Description of engagement and support by the community/community organization
  • Information about the proposed tool(s) and data including, but not limited to:
    • Identification of the publicly available tool(s) and the source(s) of those tool(s) (e.g., EPA, State agency, etc.)
    • Identification of the data including source(s) of data (e.g., Federal or State databases; other data such as social and economic factors [e.g., education, employment/occupation, family and social support, social cohesion, social capital, community stressors such as crime and discrimination, income/poverty, race/ethnicity, gender/sex, etc.]; physical infrastructure of the community [e.g., housing, transportation, food access, parks, etc.])
    • Description of how the intended approach will help to build capacity in the community
    • Perceived benefit(s) to the community

Video Specifications

To be eligible to participate, videos must meet the following specifications:

  • Videos should be submitted by the deadline of Friday, April 1, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
  • Videos should be a maximum of 6 minutes in length.
  • Source video file must be one of the following formats: MPEG4, 3GPP, MOV, AVI or WMV
  • Aspect ratio of 16:9
  • At either 24 or 30 (29.9) frames per second
  • Frame size of 1920×1080
  • If videos are in another language besides English, the team should include a transcript in the language spoken in the video as well as an English translation in their submission package (see Required Paperwork)

Video Submission Limit

Each team is limited to submitting only one (1) video for the Challenge. However, multiple submissions from the same university/college are permitted (e.g., there may be more than one team per university that enters the challenge).

Required Paperwork

Each video entry must be accompanied with the following paperwork:

Important Dates

  • Phase 1 Opens: November 2, 2021
  • Informational Webinar: December 6, 2021 at 12 p.m. ET – Register here! EXIT
  • Phase 1 Submissions Due: April 1, 2022 by 11:59 PM EST
  • Phase 1 Winners Announced: June 2022


The eligibility criteria for this EJ Video Challenge are noted below.

  • Open to undergraduate and graduate students (18 years and older as well as international students under the authority of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 102(2)(F)) enrolled in accredited institutions of higher education (including community colleges) across the United States and its territories.
  • At least one (1) faculty advisor is required to serve as a mentor to teams participating in the Challenge.
  • Only teams who submitted videos in Phase 1 are eligible to participate in Phase 2 of the Challenge.
  • There must be at least one (1) team member from Phase 1 who participates as a team member in Phase 2 of the Challenge. This is to help with continuity in cases where students graduate prior to Phase 2 completion.

NOTE: EPA recognizes that it is important to engage all available minds to address the environmental challenges the Nation faces. At the same time, EPA seeks to expand the environmental conversation by including members of communities which may have not previously participated in such dialogues to participate in EPA programs. For this reason, EPA strongly encourages all eligible applicants identified above, including undergraduate/graduate students from minority serving institutions (MSIs), to apply under this opportunity.


For Phase 1, up to 10 prizes will be awarded. The top ten selected winners will receive
monetary prizes in the amounts noted below, and all the winners will receive recognition from
EPA and their co-sponsors.

Prize Distribution for Phase 1 Winners*

  • (1) First Place Prize of $20,000
  • (1) Second Place Prize of $12,000
  • (1) Third Place Prize of $6,000
  • Up to (7) Honorable Mention Prizes of $1,000 each

* NOTE: The total amount to be awarded will be dependent upon the number of submissions
received. The final amount of the monetary prizes for 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place winners may differ if
the number of Honorable Mentions is less than (7) seven.

Additional Benefits for Phase 1 Winners

Winning teams will also receive the following benefits:

  • The winning videos will be posted on EPA’s EJ Video Challenge for Students webpage.
  • Additionally, winning videos will be shared on EPA social media channels and communications.
  • If a tool developed by EPA’s Office of Research and Development was used, winners and their community organization partner(s) will have the opportunity to speak with a team member for that tool for Phase 2.
  • Challenge winners will have an opportunity to submit an article for publication (subject to the journal’s formal review/acceptance process) in Environmental Justice.

NOTE: All teams who submitted a video in Phase 1 will have the opportunity to participate in Phase 2 where they will continue their work to display how they used data and publicly available tools to identify strategies and opportunities to address an identified EJ issue(s). Details regarding the Phase 2 prize distribution and benefits will be provided at a later date.

Terms and Conditions

Intellectual Property

  • Winning videos for Phase 1 will be posted on an EPA webpage and announced in June 2022.
  • Video entries may be used by EPA (e.g., on EPA social media accounts and webpages) in connection with this video challenge and the production, distribution, promotion, broadcast at public meetings/conferences, and online posting thereof.
  • All teams will need to provide their video file to EPA in the file format specified under the Video Specifications section above.
  • All video entries must be accompanied with signed License Agreement and Consent Forms found above (see Required Paperwork). Note that each individual appearing on the video must sign a consent form.
  • Use of music within each video entry must follow EPA Music Licensing Guidance (see Required Paperwork section above).
  • Challenge teams are responsible for complying with applicable copyright and intellectual property laws for any materials used in their video entries. “Fair use” rules may allow the use of copyrighted material in certain circumstances (e.g., see the fair use guidelines on YouTube). Participants should seek legal guidance if they have questions about using copyrighted materials.


EPA and EPA officials do not endorse any product, service, or enterprise that may appear in submitted videos. Furthermore, by recognizing winning videos, EPA is not endorsing any products, services, or enterprises that may appear in those videos.


Judging Panel

Submissions will be judged by a panel of EPA and non-EPA judges with expertise in environmental justice and capacity building. The judges will evaluate, score, and rank submissions based on the criteria listed below.

Judging Criteria

The judging panel will use a 100-point scale to evaluate the videos. The scale will rank the
extent in which the video meets the following criteria:

  • Clarity (15 points) – Video has a clear message and the theme and is easily understood.
  • Storytelling (15 points) – Video is educational, engaging, or deepens the understanding of how the team developed their innovative approach and worked with the community or community organization(s) to do so.
  • Creativity/Innovation (20 points) – Video shows an innovative approach to identify/characterize an EJ issue(s) in a select community using data and a publicly available tool(s).
  • Level of Community Engagement (25 points) – Team engaged with community and/or community organizations in their effort in a meaningful and community capacity building manner.
  • Use of Data & Publicly Available Tools (25 points) – Information about the data and tool(s) are provided and the use of the proposed data/tool(s) demonstrates a feasible method to identify/characterize an EJ issue(s) in your community (e.g., are you using the most highly applicable data and tool(s) to identify/characterize the EJ issue(s) in your community).

NOTE: Judging criteria for Phase 2 will be communicated during the roll out of Phase 2.