COVID-19: Essential Information

Midd Alum Katie Romanov moves on to top 5 in Eco-Star competition

Midd Alum Katie Romanov moves on to top 5 in Eco-Star competition

March 9, 2012

Washington, D.C. – SmartPower today announced the “Top Five” finalists for America’s Next Eco-Star, a program of SmartPower made possible through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy.  America’s Next Eco Star is a national search for the standout among our nation’s next generation of energy leaders.

“Young people are leading the way on clean energy and energy efficiency,” said Brian F. Keane, President of SmartPower.    “Through America’s Next Eco-Star, we’re finding and rewarding campus leaders and encouraging them to work together to begin implementing smarter energy policies.”

Among the five finalists are Casey Fangmann of Iowa State University, Chris Castro of the University of Central Florida, Elliott Beenk, an intern at the University of Iowa, Katie Romanov of Middlebury College, and Brett Edwards, a student at the California Polytechnic State University known as the eco-conscious rapper “Mr. Eco.”  Brett topped the public voting part of the judging process.

“We reached our decisions on these five finalists through public voting and then a preliminary round of judging which narrowed the field,” continued Keane.    “Now it’s up to our expert panel of judges to make the final determination on who will be America’s Next Eco-Star.  By March 16th -- we’ll have named our Eco-Star!”

Over the next seven days, a guest panel of judges, including representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy, will determine the winner, who will be crowned America’s Next Eco-Star.

The winner will receive:

An all-expenses-paid trip to a future Sustainable Futures Academy at the Salzburg Global Seminar in Austria; and

A fellowship in the Washington, D.C., office of SmartPower.


The winning contestant’s college or university will receive:

A $1,000 grant to the school’s sustainability office; 

An invitation for the school’s president to join a select group of sustainability experts at a future Sustainable Futures Academy at the Salzburg Global Seminar; and;

National recognition as the home of America’s Next-Eco Star and a leader in campus sustainability.


The winner of America’s Next Eco Star will be announced on Friday, March 16. For more information, visit

About SmartPower: SmartPower is the nation’s leading non-profit marketing firm dedicated to promoting clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. SmartPower was created in 2002 by some of the nation’s largest private foundations, including Pew Charitable Trusts, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the John Merck Fund and the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, who believe that today’s energy solutions require the same consumer marketing approaches as traditional brands. SmartPower’s work has been recognized with awards from the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Department of Energy and the Service Industry Advertising Awards and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. To learn more, visit