Glocal Challenge

Glocal Cover Photo

What is the Glocal Challenge?

The Glocal Challenge is a contest-based program facilitated by EF Education First, the City of Cambridge, and the Cambridge Public Schools to help high school students learn critical 21st Century Skills, gain global competence and receive real-world experience in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math). Each year, we ask Cambridge Rindge and Latin School students to solve a challenge locally in Cambridge that has global implications. Through the Glocal Challenge, CRLS students will be placed in teams of 3-5 students, spend 8 weeks learning about issues of food waste and food security globally and locally, invent a creative idea to solve the challenge in Cambridge, and then pitch their idea to expert judges. The winning student teams will receive a trip abroad for the EF Global Student Leaders Summit, as well as seed funding from the City of Cambridge to kick-start their projects, and paid summer internships with the City. Additionally, all participants will earn 10 community service hours.

The Glocal Challenge 2016-2017 winners began their internship with the City through the Mayor's Summer Youth Employment Program on July 5th, 2017!

Follow their progress on the Glocal Facebook page and check back here later as well to find out more.

Summer Outreach Events

  • July 15th 10am-3pm: Danehy Park (99 Sherman Street)
  • July 18th 10am-5pm: Cambridge Public Library (Main Library 449 Broadway)
  • July 25th 10am-5pm: City Hall (795 Massachusetts Ave)
  • August 1st 2pm-7pm: CambridgeSide 100 Cambridgeside Place
  • August 8th 10am-5pm: Cambridge Common (1667 Massachusetts Ave)
  • August 15th 10am-5pm: Fresh Pond (250 Fresh Pond Parkway)



Glocal Challenge 2017-2018 

Begins on the first day of Club Week in CRLS!

Glocal Challenge 2016-2017

The challenge for this year's program was: “How can we reduce food waste in the Cambridge community?”  Through the Glocal Challenge, CRLS students were placed in teams of 3-5 students, spent 8 weeks learning about issues of food waste and food security globally and locally, invented a creative idea to reduce food waste in Cambridge, and then pitched their idea to expert judges. The top three winning student teams received a trip to Italy for the EF Global Student Leaders Summit and the top five teams received seed funding from the City of Cambridge to kick-start their projects during their paid summer internships with the City. Additionally, all participants earned 10 community service hours.  

So this summer, the five teams get to intern with the City of Cambridge Community Development Department and implement parts of their projects with the seed money they won. The summer internship for the winning teams started on Wednesday, July 5th. Follow their progress on our Facebook page and read on below for more information about what each of the teams will be doing!

The Biodiesel Team

During this summer, the biodiesel team will conduct a trial run of converting waste cooking oil to biodiesel. They will use some of the waste oil from Harvard University Dining Services and build the converter and convert the oil in MIT D-lab. A third party will certify the converted biodiesel and the Cubby Oil will use the biodiesel. The team will conclude the summer by making a proposal to the City to consider installing a biodiesel converter to convert waste oil from institutions and businesses in Cambridge for productive use by the City. The team will also do several outreaches to the local restaurants in the City, surveying them and providing more information about what to do with used cooking oil.

The Digester Team

The digester team will research and compare the economics, greenhouse gas emissions, and educational benefits of various food waste reduction and food repurposing methods for the City, including installing an anaerobic digester. The team will then present their research to the City and make proposals.

The Expiration Team

The expiration team will create and distribute informational materials about expiration dates and saving money spent on wasted food at various outreaches. You can find their brochure on the "Documents" tab and also find more information on the lifespan of different kinds of food on

The Sticker Team

This summer, the sticker team will run a sticker competition pilot program to increase citizen composting participation in the Curbside Compost Pilot and participate in door-to-door awareness outreach about composting. The team will also create a cookbook for foods that are about to expire.

The Waste Reduction Kit Team

The waste reduction kit team will put together and distribute 200 units of food waste reducing kit to lower and middle-income households in person. The kit will include items to help keep food fresh for longer as well as other educational materials for reducing food waste and composting.

Glocal Challenge 2017-2018

Calling all science lovers, budding entrepreneurs, artists, and future world travelers of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School!

We are excited to announce that CRLS is once again participating in the sixth annual Glocal Challenge with EF Education First and the City of Cambridge! The Glocal Challenge (global + local = glocal) is a contest where CRLS students use 21st century skills, gain global competence and receive real-world experience in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math). 

Each year, we ask students to solve a local challenge that has global implications. This year, we are asking CRLS students to employ technology to improve and enhance sustainable transportation in Cambridge by 2020.

The Glocal Challenge will consist of eleven in-school sessions that take place between November 14th - January 18th.  On the first day, students will be introduced to this year's topic and then, on the second meetup, be placed into teams based on their areas of expertise. Our goal is to set up every team for success and a chance to win by pairing students with different backgrounds and skill sets.

Students will learn about technology both globally and locally, develop a creative plan to reduce transportation challenges in Cambridge, and then pitch their idea to expert judges. They will work with mentors from Cambridge companies and universities, learning how to budget, implement and present their projects. 

The winning teams will receive scholarships to Berlin for the EF Global Student Leaders Summit in July 2018, seed funding from the City of Cambridge to kick-start their projects, and paid summer internships. Additionally, all participants will earn 10 community service hours.  

Competing in the Glocal Challenge is easy! Students register for the challenge online or at lunch starting club week, the last week of September. Then they attend the November 14th kick-off and the competition begins. We hope that your students will take advantage of this invaluable opportunity and educational program.

Marya Wegman, Susie VanBlaricum and Andrew Miller

CRLS Glocal Challenge Coordinators

Glocal Challenge 2015-2016

Power Saviors

The Power Saviors are a group of young, dedicated high school students who won the Glocal Challenge competition at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS) in 2016. The Glocal Challenge is an 8-week competition hosted by CRLS, EF Education First, and the City of Cambridge to propose solutions to global challenges with local implications. In 2016, the challenge was to decrease energy use in our community by 2017 in order for Cambridge to win the Georgetown University Energy Prize. As winners of the popular vote, the Power Saviors worked with the Community Development Department to research the most effective locations for installing kinetic energy tiles in Cambridge. Kinetic energy tiles are tiles that generate energy after there is pressure applied to them (footsteps, bicycle wheels, cars, etc). The energy is then stored in a battery and can be used to power lights, appliances, or other utilities.

According to team members Nitant Rimal and Hassan Gudal, both CRLS Juniors: “We knew that some parts of Cambridge were heavily populated with tourists, students, etc. We decided to take advantage of this, and decided to propose kinetic energy tiles.”

In the summer, the students collected data by counting the amount of people who walk, skate, bike, or drive through Harvard Square, Kendall Square, Inman Square, and Porter Square. From the data that was gathered, it was determined that the best places to put the tiles were Harvard Square and Kendall Square. For example, in front of one restaurant in Harvard Square there was an average of 1,500 footsteps per hour. Each footstep generates about 4 watts, which is an average of 6,000 watts per hour. For context, it takes 10-20 watts to power a tablet for an hour.  In addition to the energy produced, the Power Saviors feel that the tiles are a great educational and awareness-building resource for Cambridge.

Team members Hayley Swope, Maroua Oudani, and Ginely Baltodano have been strong advocates for the project for the past year. “After winning the Glocal Challenge, the next step was to try to get funding through the City via Participatory Budgeting. We submitted our idea, and worked hard to get as many votes as possible. We went room to room in the school classrooms to gather many votes!”

The Power Saviors submitted their kinetic energy tile proposal to Participatory Budgeting over the summer.  And guess what? They won! The students were able to successfully advocate for $50,000 to be allocated for purchasing and installing energy-producing tiles during the next fiscal year.

Kinetic Energy Floor

For more information about the Glocal Challenge and how to be involved as mentors or experts, contact Jennifer Lawrence at