By SHEL SEGAL
Arcadia High School senior Aarushi Walia was recently the Youth Trailblazer Award at the fourth annual Women in Green Forum.
The award is given each year to a young woman who has made an extraordinary impact through environmental leadership within her community.
“It has made the biggest impact on my life,” Walia said of receiving the award.
As a leader in sustainability on her school’s campus, Walia has demonstrated passion and commitment for achieving success in her local community. She has led her school’s participation in the Alliance to Save Energy’s PowerSave Schools Program conducted energy audits, and trained students and staff in simple, effective energy-saving practices.
To date, the program has saved Arcadia High School nearly $40,000 in energy costs.
“I cannot even explain how great it is to be here,” said Walia upon receiving the award for her service. “Imagine the impact we could have if our county, state, nation and even the world took on these same methods because we know that the threat of climate change is staring us in the face.”
Recently, Walia was featured in the Center for Next Generation’s Prop 39 campaign as a representative of the countless number of Southern California youth who would benefit from the proposition’s allocation of government bond monies for energy retrofits in public schools.
Additionally, she is currently serving as a Climate Action Fellow with the Southern California chapter of the Alliance for Climate Education and will spend her senior year leading and training her peers in environmental awareness and advocacy.
“I am so pleased that Aarushi was given this award,” said Rochelle Younan-Montgomery, the Southern California Education and Leadership Manager for the Alliance for Climate Education. “From the moment I met Aarushi, I knew she was an extraordinary leader. She’s driven, eloquent, consistent and genuinely devoted to the cause. I am thrilled she won this award and believe she couldn’t be more deserving.”
Walia plans to continue serving her community in the future, noting a connection between her work in sustainability and her dream of going into the field of medicine.
“It’s going to take more than health care professionals, it’s going to take more than activists and students,” Walia said. “I feel this is the basic responsibility for every human being towards mother Earth.”
(Shel Segal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Arcadia High Senior Trailblazer, Arrushi Walia
By SHEL SEGAL