William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration

Las Vegas Sands Sustainable Hospitality Student Challenge Rules

The Las Vegas Sands Corporation has generously donated $50,000 to UNLV to provide academic achievement awards to UNLV students who develop winning sustainability projects during the upcoming year in one of three categories. The intent of this competition is for UNLV students to gain hands-on experience in identifying, researching, vetting, and implementing a sustainability project. The three categories are as follows:

  1. Efficiency Project — A program that will reduce the need for one or more of the following resources: energy, water, materials; improve worker productivity or reduce utility costs at an integrated resort. The project cannot be in current use in the hospitality industry. It may not require more than a $200,000 investment and must be immediately implementable. Furthermore, the project cannot have a simple payback period of longer than three years. Projects will also be evaluated on originality, ease of implementation, total cost, return-on-investment, and benefit to the property, community, and the environment.
  2. Innovative Technology Project — A project that entails the development of a technological device that will reduce the need for one or more of the following resources: energy, water, materials; improve worker productivity or reduce utility costs at an integrated resort. The technology cannot be in current use in the hospitality industry. It may not require more than a $5,000,000 investment and cannot have a simple payback period of longer than five years. However, the project does not need to be immediately implementable. Projects will also be evaluated on originality, ease of implementation, total cost, return-on-investment, and benefit to the property, community, and the environment.
  3. Consulting Project — A strategic plan that will reduce the need for one or more of the following resources: energy, water, materials; improve worker productivity or reduce utility costs at an integrated resort. The plan cannot be in current use in the hospitality industry. Plans will be evaluated on originality, ease of implementation, total cost, return-on-investment, and benefit to the property, community, and the environment. The strategic plan must be in one of the following areas:
    1. Sustainable Supply Chain
    2. Team Member Engagement in Sustainability
    3. Sustainable Food Use
    4. Waste Reduction
    5. Green Roofs

UNLV students may enter as individuals or as a member of a group. A student may only be part of one entry. The maximum number of students on a group project is ten (10). The names of all participating students on a group project must be entered on the registration form by October 1, 2013. Entrants cannot be amended for the duration of the contest. Faculty and outside experts may offer the contestants advice and counsel. However, under no circumstance may they participate in the design and execution of the project. If it is discovered that an entrant or entrants used someone who was not a contestant to design or execute the project for a winning entry, the winner or winners will be required to return the award and prize money.

The initial proposal submission will consist of a maximum two page, typed, one sided, single spaced document with one-inch margins. Later submissions at the “Initial Pitch,” the “First Check-In,” the “Second Check-In,” and “Final Submission and Presentation” will be in two parts, an oral presentation to the judges (audio/visual aids may be used) and a written business plan that follows the format provided in “The Nuts and Bolts of Great Business Plans,” available through Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management website. Project presentations are limited to 30 minutes. Projects that are interdisciplinary in nature will be given a higher weighting.

Student projects will be evaluated by a panel of hospitality and sustainability experts. At any time during the process, an entry may be summarily rejected by the judges. Any decision by the judges will be final. All submissions should be the student’s/group’s original work. No submissions should be plagiarized, copied, previously submitted elsewhere, and should not include processes or practices already used elsewhere. By entering the competition, students are giving permission to UNLV for the publication of their names, images, and a description of their projects.

The Awarding of the Prizes

Once the judges have made their final determination, the $50,000 prize money will be awarded. There may be as many as three winning contestants, or there may be two, one, or no winning contestant. The winning contestants may be ranked. If this is the case and there are three winning entrants, the prize money will be distributed accordingly: 1st place - $25,000, 2nd place - $15,000, 3rd place - $10,000. However, the judges may decide that the winning projects are fully equivalent and split the prize money equally among the winners. The judges may also select only two winning projects and award a first and second place prize of $33,333 and $16, 666 respectively, or determine that both projects are fully equivalent and award a prize of $25,000 to each winner. If it is determined by the panel of judges that there is only one winner, that entrant or entrants will receive the entire $50,000 prize money. For winning projects that have multiple entrants, the prize money will be divided equally among the contestants. Winning projects and their team members will be named at the Earth Day event on April 22, 2014. There may also be no winners if the panel of judges determine that none of the projects are worthy of an award. If that is the case, a second contest may be implemented in the coming year.

Note: Rules and regulations may be amended prior to October 11, 2013.