Pittsburgh to Paris Contest


CMU, Point Park challenge Pittsburgh-area college students to create videos on raising awareness about climate change

The Steinbrenner Institute at Carnegie Mellon University and the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University are collaborating on a multimedia competition to raise awareness about climate change. Entrants will have a chance to win a pair of round-trip tickets from Pittsburgh to Paris, courtesy of WOW Airlines.

When President Trump announced the United States’ exit from the Paris Climate Accord earlier this year, he said, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto’s response was that “we stand with the world and will follow the agreement.”

The Steinbrenner Institute and the Center for Media Innovation are issuing the “Pittsburgh (not) to Paris Climate Multimedia Challenge” to students of colleges that are part of the Higher Education Climate Consortium, part of the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative. The goal is to raise awareness about climate change by making a video that answers this question: What does this mean to you in a world where climate change is not an alternative fact?

Along with Carnegie Mellon and Point Park, eligible educational institutions include the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Carlow University, Chatham University, Community College of Allegheny County, Duquesne University, La Roche College, The Penn State Center, Robert Morris University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Neil M. Donahue, director of CMU’s Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research, has been studying climate change for almost 40 years. He notes that the 1979 Charney Report to the National Research Council warned that “a wait-and- see policy may mean waiting until it is too late.” “The causes and severity of climate change described in that nearly 40-year- old report have been

“The causes and severity of climate change described in that nearly 40-year- old report have been verified. We do see the effects and we hope that it is not too late,” Donahue said. “Pittsburgh has a

“Pittsburgh has a vibrant community from scholars to blue-collar workers making efforts to understand climate and poised to deploy solutions, and we have elected representatives who understand the problem and who are proactively working to solve it. This is a global problem, and Pittsburgh, Paris and all of their sister cities can solve it together.”

Submissions should be videos of any style, but cannot exceed 60 seconds in length and personal
statements are limited to 250 words. They must be relevant to climate change with a compelling
presentation and production. Videos must be uploaded with a hashtag of #P2PClimateChallenge to https://p2pclimatechallenge.pgtb.me/Qg4wkZ between noon Sept. 9 and 11:59 p.m. Oct. 2.

Online voting will run until Oct. 18 to determine 10 finalists. An expert panel will review the finalists and pick one winner, who will be announced at Point Park’s Multimedia Workshop, to be held Oct. 27-28 at the Center for Media Innovation.

“As our society actively debates climate change, I think about the world we are leaving behind for future generations,” said Christopher Rolinson, director of Point Park’s Environmental Journalism Program, which is conducting the workshop. “It is our responsibility to protect the air, water and land. While the responsibility to preserve the climate and environment begins locally, global climate change must be taken seriously from Pittsburgh to Paris, and worldwide.”

Svanhvit Fridriksdottir, vice president of Communications at WOW Airlines, said the company was proud to play a role in the competition, given WOW’s dedication to issues impacting the environment.

“We use brand-new airplanes that are very fuel efficient and environmentally friendly and also support various environmental initiatives in Iceland, including Landvernd, an organization dedicated to protecting and restoring Icelandic nature. WOW also recently opened solar-powered bicycle sharing stations in Reykjavik,” Fridriksdottir said. “We hope this initiative will succeed in promoting a healthier lifestyle for the benefit of the environment.”


Lou Corsaro
Point Park University

Ken Walters
Carnegie Mellon University