EcoFriend wins Rep. Marilyn Strickland’s 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Washington’s 10th District

Rep. Marilyn Strickland has named Anusha Jain, an Eighth Grader at Tumwater Middle School, as the winner of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Washington’s 10th District.

When asked what inspired the creation of EcoFriend, the student said, ”My biggest source of inspiration to create this app was just watching the people around me. Very often I see people throwing things wherever they want to: on the sidewalk, in beaches and rivers, on the grass, and basically wherever they can. Barely anyone thinks twice before tossing something in the trash that could be recycled, and let’s not forget climate change. How often do people decide I’ll ride my bicycle to school today instead of taking a car, or, I’ll take a bus today? Most people don’t even know how much less their carbon footprint could be if only they’d bother reading articles or watching videos. Some don’t even turn off their cars at traffic lights, contributing to SO much air pollution. In fact, in some countries people have to walk around with masks on just because the air is too unhealthy to breathe. I realized that although changing these habits may seem tiny and worthless, they definitely affect our environment, in many more ways than we think. All that trash we throw in beaches? It suffocates marine life like turtles and fish, and not to mention, also damages the immune system of many sea mammals. If only people would stop and think before doing something, it would make our surroundings so much cleaner and healthier. Keeping that in mind, I wanted to create an app that would not only just lay out an assortment of facts, but also make it fun for people to protect the environment. I wanted to show everyone how easy and simple it really can be if they just care, and I realized, the biggest way to do that would be to make it worth their time. People rarely want to do anything that they won’t get something out of; that’s why when you finish all the levels in my app, you get a certificate personally signed by the CEO of EcoFriend! My end goal was just to make an app that would -hopefully- make the world a much better, cleaner, and healthier place to live.”

The Congressional App Challenge smashed previous participation records in 2022. All told, 9,011 students registered for this year’s competition – creating 2,707 fully-functioning apps for 335 Members of Congress across 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the District of Columbia. This year’s competition set the record for most student registrations, most apps submitted, most apps per district submitted, and most districts receiving over 20 apps. The wildly successful competition continues to impress upon House Members the importance of computer science education and the need to develop a pipeline of diverse, domestic STEM talent.

The Congressional App Challenge is an official initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Members of Congress host contests in their districts for middle school and high school students, encouraging them to learn to code and inspiring them to pursue careers in computer science. Each participating Member of Congress selects a winning app from their district, and each winning team is invited to showcase their winning app to Congress during our annual #HouseOfCode festival. The program is a public-private partnership made possible through funding from Omidyar Network, AWS, Rise, theCoderSchool, Apple, and others.

The 2023 Congressional App Challenge will launch in June of 2023, and eligible students can pre-register for the competition now.