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Students Work on Ideas for 'People, Prosperity and the Planet'

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Written by Jill Moss

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This is Shep O'Neal with the VOA Special English Development Report.

environmentWinners of an environmental design competition for college students in the United States will now try to bring their ideas to market.  Six teams won the second year of the event, called P-Three: People, Prosperity and the Planet. 

The competition is held by the Environmental Protection Agency and other public and private organizations.  Teams compete to design sustainable technologies that support economic growth but also protect the environment. 

One of the winning teams is from Appalachian State University in North Carolina.  The students propose to research low-cost, environmentally friendly fuels.  One idea is to use waste vegetable oil to make biofuel that poor families and local farmers can use. 

Another winning proposal is from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania.  The students will design a water supply system in Honduras for the village of La Fortuna.  They will look for simple technologies, local materials and community involvement.

Students from Portland State University in Oregon will create a Web site as a teaching tool for the local public schools.  The interactive site will explain how the world is connected environmentally. 

At Stanford University in California, students will put their award money toward what they call a "Green Dorm."  The goal is to develop student housing where environmentally friendly systems can be tested.  

Students from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell will explore a possible cancer treatment.  Their work will involve compounds found in green tea. 

And the sixth winning team is from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  The students will work with building materials made from natural compounds and plastics that can be recycled.  The team will develop and test new product designs.

Forty-one teams each received ten thousand dollars to develop their projects over the school year.  They presented their ideas earlier this month in Washington, D.C.  Judges from the National Academies helped choose the six winners.

Each team can now receive as much as seventy-five thousand dollars more to continue work.  Four teams from last year have already started small businesses. 

Only schools in the United States can enter the P-Three competition, but they can work with foreign colleges and universities.  Proposals for next year will be accepted starting in December. 

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Jill Moss.  I'm Shep O'Neal.

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