Student picks up award in White House video contest

Green GW Vice President Max Chen helps out in the student organization's tree planting day. Chen highlighted many of the sustainable group's achievements in his award-winning video. Photo courtesy of Max Chen.

Fittingly, Max Chen came up with the idea for his award-winning video submission while walking through the woods.

His video, which uses a tree to show how he has grown to embody sustainability, earned the Popular Choice Award in the White House’s Youth Sustainability Challenge.

The three-minute video highlights Chen’s personal achievements conserving the environment and shares his future goals related to sustainability.

“I wanted to enter this contest because I wanted to tell my story,” said Chen, vice president of Green GW. “I love sharing my story but it doesn’t comes from any extreme background: I wasn’t raised in a coal mining town. I followed my passion and that’s really important.”

The business major and sustainability minor is one of five winners in the contest. He said he used utilized social media and networking contacts to secure his 691 votes. He edged ahead of the second place video by 202 votes.

He is also a former intern at GW’s Office of Sustainability and the media platform Planet Forward.

All five winners will head to the White House this summer for a special event geared towards sustainability leadership. The videos will each be shown at the U.S. center during the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro next week.

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