Contest “Our Sustainable Future”

“Why should I be studying for a future that soon may be no more, when no one is doing anything to save that future?” (Greta Thunberg)
How can we design a sustainable future for everyone? All over the world, young people are fighting for a common goal: a sustainable future. Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old from Sweden, is their role model. For months now, Greta has taken to the streets to protest on Fridays instead of going to school.

We want to hear your ideas! Sustainable development is diverse and includes ecological, economic, political, and social practices. What else do you think of? Work with your peers, for example fellow students from class or after school clubs or organizations, and ask your German and STEM, philosophy, or social studies teachers for help! Tackle global problems such as climate change, poverty, or pollution together!

Take part in the ‘‘Our Sustainable Future’’competition and tell us about your ideas in German.

The competition is made up of three parts:
  1. Think: What are the most important sustainability issues in your cities, at your schools, and in your lives? Maybe it’s energy use, poverty, traffic, waste, or pollution? What else can you think of? Read more here about the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals!
  2. Research: What are the ecological, economic, political, and social causes of the problem you have identified?
  3. Act: Develop concrete actions that you could take to help address these problems in your community.

How does the competition work?

  1. Form a team of students together with your German and your STEM, philosophy, or social studies teacher.
  2. Fill out the Project Description form together in your native language.
  3. Make a short video (3-5 mins.) about your project in German.
  4. Send the form and video to by February 15, 2020 (11:59pm EST) .
Your project description is the most important part of your application. An international expert jury will evaluate your project based on the information you provide. The jury will announce the results by April 1, 2020. The winning teams (max. 2 teachers and 3 students per team) will be invited to an international sustainability conference in Berlin in the summer of 2020, where they will present their projects in German.

Who can participate?

The competition is for students between the ages of 14-19 as well as their German and STEM, philosophy, or social studies teachers from the US, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

How will our project be evaluated?

The jury will evaluate your project description based on the following criteria:
  • Relevance of the identified sustainability issues for the students and those in their immediate geographical location (for their neighborhood, school, city, state)
  • Quality of research and results
  • Interdisciplinarity of the project and use of research methods in STEM and other relevant fields (Note: The project must be dealt with in both German and subject area classes. This must be made clear in the project documentation.)
  • Clarity, logic, and structure of the project description
  • Practical orientation of the proposed project and results
  • Resonance and reception of the results of the project to the larger public, for example coverage in local media
  • Documentation of the project and the process
Please note: The video will not be evaluated by the jury. However, it is required for a complete application. Through the video, you have the chance to share your project with a larger audience. Show us your project (in German, 3 to 5 minutes)!
  • What is the problem?
  • Where is the problem?
  • Who is affected by the problem?
  • What will you do about it?
The video must be in German.

What could we win?

The winning teams (max. 2 teachers and 3 students per team) will be invited to participate in our international sustainability conference in Berlin. The award includes round trip airfare to Berlin, accommodations and meals at the conference. Teams also have the chance to win tablets and Step into German t-shirts. The best videos will be posted on the Step Into German website.


    Project description (PDF, 124 KB)
    Parental consent (PDF, 16 KB)
    Terms and Conditions (PDF, 81 KB)