GASP Announces Environmental Advocacy Competition

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Hotline, Summer 2003

The Group Against Smog and Pollution announces an annual competition in environmental advocacy for high school-level students (grades 9 through 12) in Allegheny County, supported by a fund created in honor of the late William W. Mullins. In the first year of competition, 2003-2004, prizes of $300 each will be awarded to:

1. an organization approved by its high school, such as a science club or environmental club, for the club’s use, and

2. a single student or two students working together, for personal use.

The prizes will be awarded to the student group and to the one or two independent students whose work best exemplifies the ideals and efforts of the late William W. Mullins, a highly respected scientist and member of GASP’s Board of Directors, and of GASP itself, by developing a project during the school year that deals with each of these three aspects:

  • defining and making an inquiry into an environmental problem which may be as local as a school’s own grounds or as broad as statewide, and
  • defining and recommending a course or courses of action to remedy that problem, and
  • making efforts to inform the public and to encourage public action.

As an example of such a problem, let us suppose that one or two students are concerned with conditions on factory farms (raising animals or fish for food in factory-style) in Pennsylvania. They may decide to investigate one or more such farms, write letters of concern to their state legislators, visit and volunteer some time at the OohMahNee Farm Animal Sanctuary in Hunker, PA, and write and submit an op-ed piece about their experiences to a local or daily newspaper.

Or a high school environmental club sees the quantity of aluminum cans and paper that is being tossed into waste containers each day at school, and decides to try to put into place a recycling program for the school district. Members research what it would take to install a recycling program, what the barriers to it would be, and how they might be overcome. They approach their school board with the idea of starting a recycling program, offer to present to the local PTA an educational program about the benefits of recycling, and develop an educational campaign for schools in their district to encourage students, teachers, and staff to recycle waste products.

Projects, which should be accompanied by a poster/story board, should be submitted by March 25, 2004. It is GASP’s intention to display these project poster/story boards publicly during Earth Day next spring. At the end of that school year GASP will announce five finalists in each of the two categories, who will be invited as guests to the GASP Annual Meeting in the fall of 2004. The winner in each of the two categories will be announced, and prizes awarded to winners or their representatives, at that meeting.

Applications for the competition may be obtained by calling GASP at (412) 441-6650, by writing to GASP, P.O. Box 5165, Pittsburgh, PA 15206, or by emailing gasp@gasp.pgh.org.