The Sustainable Growth Commission Welcomes Student Submissions for 2020 Sustainable Growth Challenge (Due January 17!)

Planning in Progress

The Applied Sustainability Practicum Portfolio website highlights ongoing, student-driven sustainability projects at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Completed during the fall 2018 semester, the site explained and demonstrated three interconnected class projects:

  1. A virtual 3-D tour and online exhibit of a student constructed “Tiny House” on wheels;
  2. A crowd-sourced campus sustainability map; and
  3. A collection of Story Maps explaining campus sustainability features and programs.

The interrelated projects spanned multiple semesters and involved many students, and was also a winner of the 2019 Sustainable Growth Challenge (Challenge), along with the Franklin Square Neighborhood Plan (Morgan State University School of Architecture and Planning),  Growing Excellence: Using Nature to Cultivate Academic Excellence at Prince George’s County Schools (University of Maryland Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture), and Streambank and Road Erosion in Harford County (University of Maryland Department of Urban Studies and Planning).

The Challenge is an effort  to engage the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission (the Commission) with Maryland college students to develop creative solutions to sustainable growth while also providing a career-building, real-world learning experience. The Challenge is an interdisciplinary exercise promoting economic growth, environmental stewardship, and sustainable land use at the community level. Established by the Maryland General Assembly in 2010, the Commission makes recommendations on growth and development issues and celebrates smart growth achievements with an annual awards program.

The Commission encourages all students attending a Maryland college or university, along with their professors, to submit projects for the Challenge. Although submissions must represent student-driven work. The Challenge is open to all disciplines, not just planning and includes environmental studies, public policy, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), architecture, and others. Submissions DO NOT need to represent work completed solely for the Challenge, rather, the Commission encourages the submission of work completed in the normal course of studies for any 2019 semester. Students define the details, but generally, projects should focus on investment in Maryland’s communities, keeping in mind sustainability’s triple-bottom line of economic opportunity, environmental protection, and social justice. Submissions, due Friday Jan. 17, 2020, should also advance one or more of Maryland’s 12 Visions and include two parts, a Final Project/Plan and a Submission Form.

Students will be invited to present their work to the Commission’s Education workgroup in Crownsville, MD on Thursday, Feb,13, 2020. Every student who worked on a project does not need to attend , but at least one student must present to the workgroup.

Winners will receive recognition at the March 2020 awards ceremony and in statewide publications. They will also be invited to present projects at statewide events such as the Maryland Planning Commissioners Association Conference. In addition, the Commission will invite the Dean and University Presidents of the winning schools to attend the awards ceremony.

The Commission aims to establish a legacy of best practices along with community and planning leadership in Maryland. The best tools for achieving this are education, mentorship, and collaboration. We look forward to next year’s submissions inspiring us. To learn more about the Sustainable Growth Challenge and to submit a project for consideration, please contact Joe Griffiths at or 410-767-4553.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s