The decades-old story about Chattanooga being labeled "the dirtiest city in the South" was shared with a group of UTC students earlier this fall.
They heard about the hard work that allowed the city to shed its reputation, and they were challenged to continue the cause.
"We didn't know what we were getting into," said Robert Kropp, a junior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and one of the 16 students there that day. "But now we see all the potential for more positive change in this city."
Already, the difference the students have made has been noticed.
Over the course of this semester, Kropp and his classmates' work has helped the university earn a coveted green|light certification. This certification is granted through green|spaces, a local nonprofit, and requires participants to meet certain conditions to increase sustainability and environmental stewardship.
The students are part of UTC's new Innovations in Honors program — an expansion of the Honors College that has received national attention.