SmartPower selected the top five nominees who are now awaiting the final results from the judging panel of energy experts, including representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy. The winner will be announced on Friday, March 16.
The remaining five competing for the title include (clockwise from the top left) Katie Romanov of Middlebury College, Chris Castro of the University of Central Florida, Brett Edwards, a student at the California Polytechnic State University known as the eco-conscious rapper “Mr. Eco,” Casey Fangmann of Iowa State University, and Elliott Beenk of the University of Iowa.
SmartPower would be proud to have any one of the five young energy leaders come to Washington, D.C., for a summer fellowship — just one of many awards America’s Next Eco-Star will receive. As a summer fellow at SmartPower, America’s Next Eco-Star will gain first-hand marketing experience and help SmartPower design and implement future youth energy efficiency campaigns.
Each of the five has shown an extraordinary commitment to sustainability, exemplary in their campaigning efforts for America’s Next Eco-Star. Elliot Beenk and Casey Fangmann, both from Iowa, led an aggressive media approach, resulting in their featured article in The Gazette. Eco-rapper Brett Edwards was featured on a local TV news station for his environmental music videos that parody popular rap songs.
Public voting has closed for America’s Next Eco-Star, a countrywide search for the standout among our nation’s next generation of energy leaders.
Brett Edwards, also known as the eco-conscious rapper “Mr. Eco,” topped the list with 1,371 unique votes. The California Polytechnic State University student is a project intern for the Alliance to Save Energy’s Green Campus Program, where he created Mr. Eco as an outreach tool. Mr. Eco’s raps include “The Prince of Fresh Air” and “You Can’t Find Me In The Tub.”
The cross-section of music and sustainability has proven to be an effective campaigning tool, as musician Elliott Beenk from the University of Iowa finished second after the public voting period closed, with 1,022 votes.
Also among the top 10 were Casey Fangman of Iowa State University, Chris Castro of the University of Central Florida, Lewis Segl of the University of St. Thomas, Mary Nell Johnson of the University of North Carolina, Katie Romanov of Middlebury College, Ian Champ of Purdue University, Zohra Roy of the George Washington University, and Megan Nicholas-Harper of Mills College.
"It is an honor to be the top vote recipient after the first round of the competition among a group of individuals who are all truly Eco-Stars,” said Edwards. “To reverse climate change, we all need to be on the same team and it is great to see individuals across the nation with the same passion I have fighting for sustainability.”
The top 10 Eco-Stars will move to the next phase of the competition where SmartPower’s staff of energy experts will determine the top five. Finally, a guest panel of judges, including representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy, will determine the winner, who will be crowned America’s Next Eco-Star.
The winner will receive:
The winning contestant’s college or university will receive:
The top 5 will be announced on Friday, March 2, and the winner will be announced on Friday, March 16. For more information, visit www.americasnextecostar.com.