Sustainability Essay Contest for High School Juniors and Seniors in Sioux Falls

The City of Sioux Falls is partnering with the community to assess and update its sustainability goals and strategies. These will be compiled in the City’s new Sustainability Master Plan, which charts a course for future sustainability actions. As part of this effort, the City is hosting an essay contest to hear our youths’ vision for a sustainable and resilient future Sioux Falls—and how to get there. The essay contest is open to 11th and 12th graders who live or attend school in Sioux Falls.

Essay Instructions

  1. Go to Read about the definition of sustainability and the six focus areas of the Sustainability Master Plan: 1) Transportation and Land Use, 2) Energy and Buildings, 3) Natural Systems, 4) Materials Management and Waste, 5) Sustainable Economy, and 6) Community Vitality and Sustainable Living. This will provide important background information.
  2. Answer the following prompt in your essay:
    It is the year 2040, and the City of Sioux Falls has just been named the Most Sustainable City in the nation. What are the most important things our city has done in the past 20 years to achieve this huge accomplishment? How have we done them? Why did they make such an impact?

Essays should be 1,000–1,500 words and address ideas that could be applied at the city or community level. Futuristic thinking is encouraged. The deadline for submission is Friday April 30, 2021. Remember to cite any information obtained from outside sources. Writers can choose their citation style (e.g., MLA, APA, etc.).


  • Junior or senior in high school
  • Live in Sioux Falls or attend high school in Sioux Falls

Judging Criteria:

Entries will be judged on insight into subject, development and support of ideas, organization, style, and grammar and mechanics.

One essay winner will be selected from each grade. Winners will be notified in May, and each receive a $250 scholarship and mention on the City of Sioux Falls website. Winners will be also be announced on in May.

Essays will be reviewed for themes, concerns, and ideas that can be incorporated into the Sustainability Master Plan. Even if you don’t win, your voice will help inform our future community!

Essay requirements and submission information:

  • Typed and double spaced, with essay title at the top
  • Written in English
  • Submitted as a shared Google doc or Microsoft Word file
  • 1,000–1,500 words
  • Focused on Sioux Falls community  Submit essay to
  • SUBJECT LINE: Sustainability Essay Contest
  • BODY OF EMAIL: Your name, grade, email address, and preferred phone number
  • Deadline for submission: Friday April 30, 2021

If you have questions, contact or 605-367-8280.

Download Sustainability Essay Contest