Meridian attends Student Environmental Action Showcase

Vedika Thapliya, Staff Writer

Sophomores Adam Belouad and Grace Calabrese gather around a watershed model created from microplastic, listening to NoVa staff discuss Virginia’s waterways. (Photo by Vedika Thapliya)

On April 18, four Meridian sophomores attended the annual Student Environmental Action Showcase (SEAS) located at Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale campus. The regional event invited students across the state, including Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William, and Falls Church. 

“I really enjoyed hearing about the interesting work done by all the other kids in the Northern Virginia area,” sophomore attendee Adam Belouad said. “They all had really cool projects.”

For his sustainability project, Belouad raised money through bake sales to fund sustainable gardens around Falls Church. During his SEAS experience, he was surprised by the unique actions organizations were taking to be more sustainable in their communities and cities. 

Grace Calabrese, another sophomore who attended the SEAS showcase, appreciated the opportunity to educate others on her project while simultaneously learning about other students’ projects.  

“I learned the impact that environmental awareness has on young people and how important it is to inspire future generations to care about the health of the environment,” Calabrese said. 

Eleanor Hodges voices her thoughts on incorporating monthly drives at schools to collect old technology and clothes for sustainable actions. (Photo by Vedika Thapliya)

SEAS aims to bring student activists who are interested in addressing environmental problems and collaborating on potential solutions. Students discuss and brainstorm solutions to a variety of pressing sustainable issues, including energy conservation, water filtration, waste reduction, recycling materials, sustainable gardening, and preserving wildlife. 

In addition to students, 24 partner organizations are invited each year to teach students about the environment and ways students can increase sustainability in their communities and schools. 

Emma Lloyd, a homeschooled sophomore, presents her sustainable projects on implementing new signs along Tuscarora Creek to spread awareness on the importance of Virginia’s waterways. (Photo by Vedika Thapliya)

Eleanor Hodges, the head coordinator for NoVa Outside, assisted in founding SEAS in 2009. Her day-to-day responsibilities include writing grant proposals and organizing board meetings. Hodges also serves as the executive director for EcoAction Arlington, a nonprofit organization that promotes a sustainable lifestyle. The group advocates for improving the environment, promoting sustainable solutions, and endorsing environmental justice.