2021 Climate Change Think-a-Thon

Join USC GPI’s Inaugural Think-a-Thon

GPI invites USC students to participate in its inaugural Climate Think-a-Thon. In this case competition, teams will work together to create innovative solutions for climate change. Teams will interact and network with environmental leaders, who will serve as the competition’s mentors and judges. The Climate Think-a-thon utilizes a problems-based learning technique to examine the most pressing impacts of climate change on the world’s most vulnerable populations.

Competition Topic

The Inequality of Climate Change

The Climate Think-a-Thon focuses on the intersection of climate change and global inequality. As sea-levels continue to rise, temperatures change, and deforestation occurs in the world’s forests, the effects of these climate-related events aren’t felt equally across all people and all countries

Within any geographic region, defined narrowly or broadly, climate change will have different and disparate impacts across people within that region, creating or worsening a situation of inequality. This inequality can impact existing gender, race, ethnic, socioeconomic, resource-based, religious, linguistic and generational inequality, among others.

In teams, your job will be to select one of these regions and develop a solution that could be implemented to reverse the effects of climate change and inequality — however broad or narrow you seek to define the issue and its solutions. 

1st place, 2nd place and 3rd place winners are eligible to receive up to $500.

2021 Registration

iceberg during daytime
climate cold road landscape
piles of garbage by the shore
nuclear power plant
african woman showing handicraft earthenware in local workshop
man holding metal detectors walking on forest during day

2021 Climate Change Think-a-Thon

Meet Our Judges

Alex Hanafi

Director of Multilateral
Climate Strategy & Lead Counsel Environmental Defense Fund

Ariel Whitson

Director of Organizing and Community Education
Tree People

Marianna Babboni

Project Specialist
USC Urban Trees Initiative

Competition and Event Timeline

  • March 15

    Competition sign-ups open.

  • March 16

    Public Event Series | Climate Action: Humanitarian Organizations in the Fight for Sustainability

    Join professionals from the International Rescue Committee for a seminar discussion on the impact of humanitarian organizations in the fight against climate change.

    5:00 to 6:00 p.m. PST

  • March 24

    Public Event Series | The Climate Crisis, Capitalism and the Future of American Cities

    Join GPI for a discussion and Q&A with an economist and urban planner on the roles of capitalism and city development on the climate crisis.

    4:00 to 5:00 p.m. PST

  • March 26

    Competition sign-ups close.

  • March 29

    Competition keynote address and think-a-thon introduction. GPI will introduce our speaker (TBA) and review guidelines, deadlines and rules for the 2021 competition.

    6:00 to 7:30 p.m. PST

  • April 8

    Competition final presentations and awards.

    6:00 to 7:00 p.m. PST — Information to be sent to participating teams.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I form a team?

You are welcome to form a team with 1-4 other students. If you are interested in forming a team but are not sure with whom, we encourage you to attend GPI’s event series with climate leaders on March 16th and March 25th to meet like-minded USC students.

Can I join without a team?

Yes! You can join the competition individually and GPI will place you on a team looking for more members.

What is problems-based learning?

Problem-Based-Learning is a learning challenge that encourages students to problem solve an issue by tackling it head-on in groups. While the technique was initially developed for use at medical schools, it has since been recognized by the academic community as a valuable way to inspire learning across disciplines.

Thus, we welcome USC students from any academic background to participate in the GPI Climate Think-a-Thon and share their expertise to problem-solve together on this complex global challenge. 

What exactly does the PBL process entail?

The PBL process is inherently group-centric, so working well in groups and leveraging each member’s strengths will be crucial. There are several ways you can do this, such as splitting up work according to each member’s strengths, having each member handle a different perspective on the issue, or another creative idea that you come up with.  

Generally, the steps in problem-based-learning consist of the following: 

  1. Examine and define the problem
  2. Explore what you already know about underlying issues related to the problem
  3. Determine what you need to learn and where you can acquire the information and tools necessary to solve the problem
  4. Evaluate possible ways to solve the problem
  5. Solve the problem
  6. Report on your findings

Why should I sign up? What skills will I gain?

The Climate Think-a-thon will be a unique opportunity to develop problem-solving skills and network with innovative professionals working in the climate arena. Furthermore, you will be able to develop the following skills: working in teams, managing projects and holding leadership roles, oral and written communication, self-awareness and evaluation of group processes, working independently, critical thinking and analysis, explaining concepts, self-directed learning, applying course content to real-world examples, researching and information literacy, and problem-solving across disciplines.

We hope you find this process to be rewarding as you practice the art of thinking creatively with other like-minded teammates. RS