GAINESVILLE, Fla. — By the year 2050, more than nine billion people will populate Earth. The University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) Challenge 2050 project aims to contribute solutions to the challenges associated with this population rise, such as issues related to food security. As part of Challenge 2050, six UF students presented their ideas to address such concerns during the third annual One World competition held Feb. 16.
“There’s never been a more exciting time to be a CALS student,” said Jack Payne, senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, who spoke at the event. “Feeding the world is more complex than ever. Solutions aren’t all going to come from our National Academy members and faculty who are decades into their careers. Great ideas come from students with fresh perspectives.”
Haiti’s devastating earthquake in 2010 consumed the thoughts of 15-year-old Drew Carlton, now a senior CALS student participating in Challenge 2050. After mission trips and nutrition research as a CALS microbiology and cell science student, Carlton began thinking of a potential solution to eradicate cholera through cleaner water practices in Haiti. At One World 2017, Carlton presented his idea of developing mountaintop microfiber nets connected to pipes as a water purification system.
“Challenge 2050 shows that UF students are capable of immense progress in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and majors,” said Carlton. “We are capable of acting out the Gator Good campaign, not just in strengthening our own communities, but in the sharing of knowledge around the world.”
More than 80 students submitted video presentations of their ideas to address a growing population. Of those students, six were selected to share their solutions to One World attendees, which included faculty, staff, students and industry professionals. The following students participated in the competition:
- Rock A. Aboujaoude Jr., food and resource economics major
- Drew Carlton, microbiology and cell science major
- Marcela Mulholland, sustainability studies major
- Rebekah Schwartz, public health major
- Chris Vazquez, finance major
- Kayla Waldorff, agricultural education and communication major.
Marcela Mulholland was named the One World 2017 winner. She received $1,500 from sponsors HM Clause, Orange Theory Fitness and The C. Charles Jackson Foundation to implement her idea of meditation mindfulness practices in schools.
In addition, the following individuals were honored with awards for their support of the Challenge 2050 project:
- HM Clause director of USA and Canada sales, Dan Bailey – Champion Award
- Women’s Mentoring and Advocacy Program co-founder, Caitlin Bletscher – Social Advancement Award
- Challenge 2050 student, Krystal Dixon – International Development Award
- One World 2016 winner Shelby Thomas – Outstanding Leader Award
- CALS Dean Elaine Turner – Distinguished Advocate Award.
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