Go Green-EcoEye

Empower our community with innovative and actionable solutions to environmental challenges through the EcoEye App and Go Green Events

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Eligibility: Please confirm you meet all the following criteria

  • You are aged between 14 - 18 as of August 1, 2020
  • You live in the United States or its territories
  • You are not employed by, or directly related (grand parents, parents or siblings) to a current General Motors (GM) or Ashoka employee
  • You have been working on this project for at least three months
  • You consent to us possibly featuring your work on social media
  • You confirm you have the rights to use and share any content uploaded on this entry form

Eligibility: Date of Birth

July 11, 2004

What gender do you identify with?

  • Female

Help us stay in touch!

Phone Number: 919-360-4599 Address: 105 Edgehill Place State: North Carolina City: Chapel Hill Zip code: 27516

Website or social media url(s) (optional):


Date You Started Your Project Started

October 1, 2019

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Waste has serious environmental impacts. It is a top environmental issue but is often neglected due to lack of awareness. Americans are generating more waste when it should have been reduced. Residential recycling is not working well due to poor knowledge and practice. Waste problems get even worse at times of special circumstances such as increased residential waste during the holiday season and current stay-at-home situation due to Covid-19.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Go Green-EcoEye provides a people+technology solution. Our approach is to reach out to people through community-engaging Go Green events, and enhance education and impact with EcoEye technology application. Go Green-EcoEye events are free to participate, making it accessible for the broader community and particularly serving underprivileged students. Go Green events engage the community with themed, educational exhibits and activities. Exhibits include important environmental highlights/facts for raising awareness, as well as visual examples of how recycled materials can be used for both creative and practical applications. Fun quizzes and games would test and enhance knowledge, facilitating learning. Workshops engage the participants to practice recycling and hands on learning. These activities make recycling more attractive. The EcoEye App enlarges such outreach and education efforts. EcoEye app users are able to use it in daily lives to classify recyclables and access more resources concerning recycling.

3. Using STEM as a force of good: Please specify how are you using STEM to solve for an environmental challenge you are passionate about.

With a STEM approach to address the waste problem and improve recycling, we created the innovative EcoEye App. EcoEye is an accessible technology tool. It utilizes the mobile phone camera and AI recognition technology to classify various wastes and their recyclability. EcoEye App incorporates AI-Vision technology from Google’s ML Kit and IBM Watson services. Using these services, we can classify whether a product is recyclable or not. The clean app UI, made with Flutter SDK, also makes the app more engaging to use. One aspiration we have for EcoEye is gamifying it. An example of this would be adding a game leaderboard on the top recyclers. EcoEye has been a proven highlight in our Go Green events. With the growing importance of technology, we are particularly excited about the prospects of the EcoEye app in motivating and improving recycling practices.

4. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

We started the journey on raising environmental awareness 2 years ago. Through service-learning in various community learning projects, such as the e-cycling and Community In Bloom programs, we gained invaluable experiences through interactions with participants at these events. We were often surprised by the participants' lack of knowledge about very simple actions in handling wastes. The positive feedback we received for our works showed how improvements can be achieved with every intentional mindfulness. These experiences made us believe that we can make an impact through community-engaging efforts to spread awareness and improve recycling practices. I would also like to thank my father for sparking curiosity and providing useful resources for us to create EcoEye App. He inspired me to stretch my imagination to become a changemaker through applying technology.

5. Video (Keep it simple, a video made on a hand-held phone is great): Please upload a 1-minute video to YouTube that answers the following “I am stepping up to be a Changemaker because...”

“I am stepping up to be a changemaker because I believe changes can happen here and now through every small choice.” “Small choices make big impacts.” “Connect with people.” “Connect through STEM.” “Connect with EcoEye.” “Together we make big changes.” “Everyday - is a day for changemaking!”

6. Please highlight the key activities you have carried out to bring your project to life.

Go Green-EcoEye took shape since Go Green-Holiday where we incorporated interactive activities and EcoEye to achieve successful community engagement in response to increased holiday waste problem. With the event+STEM approach, we plan Go Green-EcoEye in different themes and have been building our team, program, partnership and Creativity In Bloom (www.chbloom.org) - a virtual Go Green event through online contest of creative green-STEAM projects, to continue efforts while at home.

7. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

The creative, interactive, innovative and accessible components of Go Green-EcoEye make it stand out, plus FREE to participate. We plan Go Green events in different themes like spring, STEM, holidays, for inspiring participation and timely mindfulness. Our project invites more active engagement with a strong message that everyone is capable of making a positive change everyday. A combination of exhibits, games, hands-on activities (using recycled materials) and EcoEye app enhances the audience experience and engagement with the purpose of our project, and motivates proper recycling.

8. Impact: In the last three months, please detail the impact your project has made?

Following Go Green-Holiday project that impacted over 700 participants, the situation changed dramatically due to Covid-19. Despite cancellations of 3 Go Green-spring events, to address the surging residential waste problems during this time, we quickly acted to implement the Creativity In Bloom online contest (and voting) to continue engaging our community in promoting environmental stewardship and green-STEAM projects. Since we launched the program in early May, the site received over 2500 pageviews. As the event will continue through June, we estimate to reach 4000 people through online events, social media and other promotional efforts. Our project received a grant award in March. In April, our Go Green-Holiday Action project won EPA President’s Environmental Youth Award. Building on these support and successes, we are striving to continue “Go Green-EcoEye” and its missions.

9. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

We continue to build connections, support and collaborations in executing/expanding our project and enlarging its impacts. The team is planning on hosting Go Green-EcoEye events in future seasons on different themes. We are in discussion with two local organizations to collaborate on our next projects - Go Green-STEM in the fall and Go Green-Holiday in the winter. We hope that Covid-19 threats will end soon, so we can finalize feasible plans for carrying out these proposals.

10. Please share how you have influenced other young people to get involved in your project and/or care about environmental sustainability.

We have access to LetServe network where thousands of high school students can be connected for service-learning, an effective way to spread influence. We also influence through friends, teachers, schools and social media. Creativity In Bloom is a creative approach to involve young people through online competition of green projects. Among entries, a student contributed, as a real example, a green STEM project featuring a streamlined composting system built with recycled wastes for daily use.

11. Please share ideas of how you can partner with other changemakers to make a difference?

A shared green vision drives our partnership. We implement projects on an all-volunteer nonprofit platform and connect with other nonprofits, agencies, educators, volunteers that share similar missions. From there, we can pursue more opportunities and network for collaboration with other changemakers. Continuing connections with ongoing events, we further amplify our mission and exchange ideas via social media, potentially partner with changemakers from other areas for bigger virtual events.

12. How would you engage others who have never heard about your project to get their buy-in?

We engaged hundreds of people who had not heard about our projects before, came to the events, and experienced the educational activities and a strong calling for personal responsibilities and actions to make environmentally conscious, positive changes in daily life. We continue our efforts to engage with attractive themes, innovative solutions/demonstrations, interactive and hands on learning, STEAM applications, program support and collaborations, outreach and connections for more resources.

13. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Donations between $1k-$5k


Parent: Peter Xu Email: peteryxu@us.ibm.com Phone: 919-485-9452 Teacher advisor: Garrison Reid, Chapel Hill High School Director, Academy of Information Technology Teacher, AP Computer Science Email: greid@chccs.k12.nc.us Phone: 919-929-2106 Team advisor: Ting Chu Email: tchu@we-sense.org Phone: 919-357-3687

Are you employed, or directly related (grand-parents, parents, sibling) to a GM or Ashoka employee?

  • No

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Other

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Ashoka page or contact
  • Email

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or General Motors, who was it?

We would like to thank We Sense for all the service-learning opportunities and support, for our youth team to thrive, learn and serve our community.

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Attachments (3)


Go Green-Holiday Action program flyer


Creativity In Bloom online contest event flyer


Join the conversation:

Photo of Sarah Holcomb

Hey WeSense team! Great work here! You have an amazing track record with hosting events to activate changemakers, and I’m impressed by how quickly you worked to adapt to the Covid-19 reality with the Creativity in Bloom initiative. The app looks promising, and I’m especially excited by the momentum you’re generating among young people in your organization. There’s a lot of collaboration potential among this community of Challenge participants—a great chance to build on the community you’ve already started. Keep up the good work.

Photo of Team WeSense

Thank you for the feedback, we truly value your input! We would like to update you on the status of our current event. Starting yesterday (6/1), Creativity In Bloom has moved to its online voting stage that showcases a plethora of creative green project submissions. We noticed a significant increase in new users as well as unique page views as this stage started, this achieves our goal of further engaging the community through online voting. View those amazing entries and stories, and vote at www.chbloom.org.

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