Chicago Eco House | UL Innovative Education Award
Tier Three Winner

Chicago Eco House

Chicago Eco House
Chicago, IL

The Chicago Eco House uses sustainability to alleviate poverty in some of the most violent neighborhoods in Chicago. The Eco House is a home based learning space where youth are treated as neighbors and not as program participants. Youth learn about various aspects of sustainability including 3D printing, backyard chickens, urban agriculture, off grid solar, healthy cooking, etc. Youth are trained to apply these concepts in an entrepreneurial context as they grow flowers and create 3D printed jewelry for sale. The Eco House is designed to "live life" with at risk youth and demonstrate green economic opportunities to give kids an alternative to the streets.

Judges Comment

“Chicago Eco House’s mission is to use sustainability to alleviate poverty, and they are using E-STEM as a pathway to this important social outcome. We love Chicago Eco House’s entrepreneurial spirit, which is demonstrated by how much they have accomplished on a modest budget. This program has evolved as a response to community needs from within the community, which is unique and powerful. The ways Chicago Eco House has leveraged community partnerships and resources and championed hyper-locality as critical to working with kids where they are is very impressive. We believe this is an important approach, where students can appreciate the promise and value of their own community, rather than traveling to a different area that has no ties to where they live. Chicago Eco House has created a warm and welcoming environment for the students to not only learn about E-STEM, but also build their own and the community’s economic opportunities. What makes Chicago Eco House unique is that within the program they have prioritized learning business skills in incredibly creative and innovative ways. This program proves to students that E-STEM relates to many, many aspects of our lives and cultures.”