SCARP Student and Team Win UBC World's Challenge Challenge

Jordan Konyk, a master’s student in the School of Community and Regional Planning, and his two teammates — Narayan Gopinathan, a master’s student at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, and Denby McDonnell, a master’s student in the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs — have won the UBC World’s Challenge Challenge.

Hosted by the UBC Global Lounge, the Challenge required six team finalists to present their unique solution to a global challenge of their choosing before a panel of judges (one of whom was CHBE and BME assistant professor Vikram Yadav). Konyk’s team decided to tackle household pollution caused by stoves, which, according to the World Heath Organization, impacts three billion people every year.

They proposed that simple behavioural interventions such as opening windows or fixing chimneys can reduce indoor air pollution by 20 to 90 per cent. Other finalists included an automated waste-sorting system to facilitate recycling and a low-cost electron microscope for diagnosing disease.

The team received $6,000 and will head to London, Ontario, in June to participate in the International World’s Challenge Challenge at Western University, where the winning team will be awarded $30,000. The Challenge “seeks to engage students on international issues and how they can play a part in sparking social change.”