This post is sponsored by PepsiCo Recycling. 

Millennials get a bad rap for a lot of things. Acting entitled, being glued to our cell phones and the PSL trend, just to name a few. But I’m here to tell you to forget the haters, because two things are also so clear: being passionate is our game and it’s time for you to join in.

If you’re still figuring out what sets your heart on fire in life (or on your campus), I got you. I’m talking about that one food trend that isn’t in enough listicles or food videos: sustainability.

By the time you finish this article, you'll know exactly how to join forces with your fellow students, live a greener life and prove that not all heroes wear capes.

Enter PepsiCo Recycling.

As students have started demanding more sustainable practices on their college campuses, PepsiCo Recycling has stepped up to help support schools as they work toward zero-impact goals. 

The Zero Impact Fund

What is Zero Impact? The whole idea is that through sustainable initiatives, we can get as close to zero negative impact on the environment as possible.

With that in mind, PepsiCo Recycling created the Zero Impact Fund last year, which empowers students to start green initiatives on their college and university campuses. The only thing students have to do is work with a school administrator or professor to submit a proposal for their ideas that would make environmental, economic and social sustainability impacts.

More specifically, PepsiCo Recycling awards up to $10,000 to fund winning project proposals for schools so that students’ big ideas can become a reality. Yes, you read that number right. *mic drop*

Performance with Purpose

As amazing as PepsiCo Recycling’s Zero Impact Fund is, it’s just one small part of PepsiCo’s larger Performance with Purpose initiative. PepsiCo is all about “delivering sustainable long-term growth while leaving a positive imprint on society and the environment.”

In other words, they’re creating value for our society as a whole. TY, PepsiCo. 

Previous Ca$h Money Winners

From a solar-power system designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at Centre College to a centralized, uniform recycling system designed to increase recycling rates at Northern Kentucky University, all kinds of sustainability project proposals have come to life through the Zero Impact Fund.

My personal favorite, because of the project’s simplicity, is a group of students at UC Berkeley who received funding to work toward the goal of zero waste on campus by 2020. In practice, that meant setting up “Zero Waste Bins” with signs to educate the community about waste reduction. Simple yet profound doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Changing the world can look different on every campus and that’s the point. The more creative ideas, the better!

Get Amped 'Cause Now It's Your Turn

Every great movement starts with a small idea, and you know your campus the best. Grab some snacks, have a brainstorm night in with your roomie, and give it a shot! It’s time that we millennials finally prove that we can get up off the couch, turn off our phones and stand up for our future.

Any idea that you have to improve your school’s impact on the environment deserves a little TLC and a chance to shine. And like PepsiCo Recycling says, “Simple acts can lead to big impact.” 

How to Apply

After that epic brainstorming session with your friends, be sure to reach out to an administrator or professor (AKA a real adult on campus). It can be any school employee, from the sponsor of the Green Club to the head of the Environmental Science department. You just need a senior champion to act as the lead applicant.

Once you have your killer plan in mind, submit your official proposal through PepsiCo Recycling’s online application. It will then be judged in five categories: environmental impact, social impact, desirability/feasibility/longevity, ingenuity and cost-effectiveness.

Make sure to submit your application by December 19, 2017 to be considered. For more information visit PepsiCo Recycling’s website.

Now get out there and do it!