Sustainability Writing Awards

Eligibility Criteria: All currently enrolled UW–Madison undergraduate, graduate, and professional students are eligible to submit nonfiction writing. Only one submission per student will be considered.

Award Information:
The inaugural UW–Madison Sustainability Writing Awards, hosted by the Office of Sustainability, are intended to inspire conversations about how writing can bring together people with different experiences to reflect and act within the context of the global climate crisis.

This year’s theme is resilience. Applicants may consider resilience from any angle, but some suggested prompts include: What does resilience mean for climate action in 2022? How do college students personally and collectively cope with the global climate crisis and demonstrate resilience? How have people and places impacted by environmental and economic disparities shown resilience? What can we learn from the resilience of ecosystems or species? How can we think about resilient systems, equipment, technologies, and institutions? Can we find resilience in business and analytical perspectives on the climate?

Students are welcome to submit nonfiction (personal essay, feature story, etc.) between 600 and 1,800 words by Monday, October 17 at 11:59pm. Any entry considering an aspect of the theme of resilience will be accepted.

The most successful essays will demonstrate a command of evocative, detailed, concise language. This year’s theme is broad, with global implications: effective essays will make the theme personal, specific, and local.

Three prizes of up to $200 will be awarded, and the winning authors’ work will be displayed at the Sustainability Symposium on October 26, 2022. Winning authors’ work will also be displayed on the Office of Sustainability website and included in a special episode of The SustainUW Podcast.

Contact: Nathan Jandl (

Up to $200 per award.
Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Office of Sustainability
Supplemental Questions
  1. Full name and pronouns
  2. Email
  3. Major/Field of Study
  4. Undergraduate/graduate and year at UW
  5. Provide a brief summary of your submission and how it pertains to the theme of resilience (100 words max). This will be revised and posted on the O.S. website, along with your submission, should you be one of the selected winners.
  6. Please upload your writing as a PDF. Please review the full WiSH posting for this award for writing submission guidelines. To avoid any chance of a conflict of interest, please do NOT include your name in the file you upload.
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