The youth gave a presentation (below) and showcased the videos that they made (below) that summarized their EJSI experiences. Committee members listened intently and engaged in a question/answer session with the youth participants, giving them a chance to speak about what they learned and how they think they might utilize the knowledge and experiences gained during the program. The youth were challenged to articulate not only what they learned, but the lessons they intend on taking away and applying to their lives in the near future.Some of the lessons learned were:
- With knowledge they have a chance to make a difference.
- The communities that they live in have higher than average levels of air and noise pollution.
- All it takes is the effort of one person to make a difference to the environment such as walking to the store instead of having one’s parents drive them down the street.
- Some who were already interested in environmental justice felt more equipped with knowledge and confidence to take leadership roles among their peers. One participant intends to start an Environmental Justice club at her school.
Prior to the last day of the program, the participants were visited by Dr. Joseph Lyou, President and CEO of the Coalition for Clean Air and board member of the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Dr. Lyou spoke about the role of community organizations and future opportunities for the students.
The Environmental Justice Summer Institute program is a partnership of USC Environmental Health,
Asian and Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance (APIOPA), From Lot to Spot (FLTS), and Social Justice Learning Institute (SJLI). Learn more about the institute in these blog posts and Resource Page:
Environmental Justice Summer Institute: Youth Workshops
Youth Pollution Monitoring Activities across the Southland
Teaching Environmental Justice through Building Model Cities
USC Environmental Health gratefully thanks the NIEHS, U.S. EPA, The Kresge Foundation and The California Wellness Foundation for their combined support which has allowed the Centers’ participation in these efforts to educate youth about air pollution.
by Wendy Gutschow