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  • Connie Miller

Award Winner Audrey Chang's Sustainability Impact

The Promise Award.

Congratulations to Audrey Chang, winner of the prestigious Acterra 2021 Champion of Promise Award, in the Youth Activism and Climate Change Education category. She's the only student winner in any category.

The recognition comes for her three years of leadership in the Los Altos High School (LAHS) Green Team and for galvanizing students at LAHS, as well as greatly contributing to the culture of sustainability on campus, in the Los Altos community, and in the wider Bay Area.

Making an impact.

Audrey, the current LAHS Green Team Co-President serving with Co-President Margaret Capetz, championed numerous sustainability initiatives. Her team organized the Students for Green High Schools conference for high school environmental clubs across the Bay Area to share their ideas and projects. In addition, she has helped design and fund a new class for the Los Altos School District (LASD) “Living Classroom” program, to increase awareness of young students' impacts on the environment.

Recently, she contributed to LAHS being awarded the 2021 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Award one of only four schools recognized in the entire state of California. Audrey has also made an impact at the community level by facilitating youth involvement and the partnership with GreenTown Los Altos. She and her Green Team associates worked on the Anti-Idling Campaign, which began in the 2017-2018 school year, resulting in a decrease of on-campus idling by 80%. She teamed again with GreenTown Los Altos in 2020 to help with the passage of the Reach Codes in Los Altos, codes that bring new construction building stock toward electrification and away from the harmful use of natural gas. Her video on the subject can be found here.

When asked about her Champion of Promise Award, Audrey shows her signature humility, by crediting and thanking a long list of others for her success. “Margaret Capetz and Sybil Cramer, my co-president and team liaison and Los Altos High School have been so supportive of our efforts, and I admire how their commitment to sustainability aligns with the mission of our club. And thank you to my Green Team pals.”

What’s next?

In the near term, Audrey hopes to lead the Green Team in the completion of six projects. The projects are:

  1. ClimatEdu, a collaboration with Gunn High School's Green Team to support environmental education in elementary and middle schools;

  2. Working with a coalition of other high school environmental clubs to organize a speaker series of climate scientists and politicians;

  3. A social media campaign on sustainable eating, to increase awareness around sustainable eating and push for an additional meatless cafeteria day;

  4. MVLA Middle Schools, a collaboration with Graham and Crittenden to replicate past successful LAHS Green Team efforts on their campuses;

  5. Fire Safety, funding and assembling emergency kits for those hit first and hardest by the impacts of climate change; and

  6. E-squared, a month-long program to encourage sustainability at home.

Personally, Audrey is engaged in biological research at a local lab and has applied to college as a biology major.

Reminding others why she is involved in environmental sustainability efforts Audrey serves as a beacon. “The world is too beautiful, too generous, and too full of potential for us to trash it so early. We have to remember that we are inhabitants <on Earth>, as much as we are brothers, sisters, family members, friends. The fight will not be easy, but it will be worth it. That’s why I continue to do the work, or we continue to do the work that we do every day. “

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