By Bailey Delacruz
Culturally, we’re conditioned to believe that we’ve won or succeeded at something when we receive a physical, tangible prize. So, it’s important for me to say right from the get-go that no, I did not win Project Green Challenge. I didn’t even make it to the PGC Finals in San Francisco. But the good news is, I came out a winner. Through my 30 day PGC experience of learning about tangible change and diving headfirst into exactly what that meant, I gained more from this program than any physical prize could have provided. In fact, with Project Green Challenge, the most important and impactful take-away is immeasurable and everlasting, it is a complete life transformation.
Throughout the month of October, I learned all about the world around me. PGC taught me about the injustices within our food system, the consequences of my consumption habits, the dangers lurking in my conventional beauty and body care products and the importance of living consciously. More importantly, I learned a lot about myself. I never knew the true meaning of leading by example until I competed in PGC. I didn’t know how to find my voice or use it to inspire change in others.
I felt lost before competing in Project Green Challenge because I often felt like the problems we face were too vast for one person to take on, especially as a young student in the middle of Ohio. But after PGC I realized that I have a passion that can inspire others, a voice that does not quake when it calls out for justice, and a heart that is stronger than the harsh world that threatens to break it. One of the best things I learned is that I’m not taking on the world’s burdens alone. PGC opened my eyes to the fact that thousands of other students just like me are fighting for environmental and social justice. People are creating change all over the world, and because of this, I felt rejuvenated in my mission to make a difference.
Project Green Challenge is not just a competition; it’s the beginning of a life journey. It’s exciting, inspiring, informative, and revolutionizing. I could never adequately put into words what Project Green Challenge has done for not only me, but for everyone around me as well. Still, almost a year later, friends and family will message me to tell me about a new eco product they’ve tried, a lifestyle change they’ve made, or something they learned about living more sustainably. All from me sharing information with them throughout the challenge. For example, my mom started growing her own food in a backyard garden for the first time and then initiated a garden trade at her work so people can swap produce for things they need or have extras of. When you empower students, you empower whole communities and transform the lives of many.
If I could convince everyone I’ve ever met to do the challenge, I would. I think the world would be a better, happier, and healthier place if everyone took these 30 days to learn about and act upon the very real, very relevant issues discussed throughout PGC. So please, Sign up! Sign up! Sign up! Uncertainty exists all around us. But one thing I can guarantee is that after participating in Project Green Challenge, your life will never be the same. So what are you waiting for? CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP!
Bailey Delacruz is currently pursuing a degree at Ohio State University in Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability with a specialization in international development and a minor in City and Regional planning. She began her involvement with Turning Green by competing in Project Green Challenge 2015, joining OSU’s Turning Green chapter, and went on to become an intern for summer 2016. She is impassioned by injustices in our current food system and hopes to one day work internationally to help create a system that is not only environmentally sustainable, but socially just as well. In her spare time Bailey enjoys hiking,camping, backpacking, and cooking dinner with friends.