2022 was a big year for Seacoast Students for Sustainability, filled with speeches, events, action, and plenty of meetings. The year started strong with several testimonies provided by SS4S members in January and February. Finn Graff (Dover '23), Will Margeson (Portsmouth '22), and Lorely Godfrey spoke on bills like SB448-FN, in support of reducing fossil fuel consumption, and SB263, in support of establishing a New Hampshire Youth Environmental Education and Conservation Council. Although not every bill was passed, stepping into the world of politics and speaking out for what we stand for is what’s most important.
In April, Seacoast Students for Sustainability was excited to introduce Earth Week; over the week leading up to Earth Day, students from Dover, Portsmouth, and Durham, engaged in a celebration of sustainable practices, culminating in an Earth Day Rally in Portsmouth's market square. At Dover High School, they planned spirit week-inspired days, all centered around environmental themes, Portsmouth High's Eco Club did a collaborative art project with their "We Speak" club to show support for Ukraine, and Oyster River made signs and hosted a thrift shop. At the Earth Day Rally, students from all schools, as well as other community members, showed up in support. There was a variety of speakers, from students, to members of the Black Lives Matter Seacoast Youth Division, to Senator David Watters.
As summer rolled around, we had to say goodbye to some of our graduating members, including co-founder Evy Ashburner (Oyster River '22). Luckily, there were some exciting events taking place over the summer to look forward to. SS4S members lent a hand at the Seacoast Science Center and had a chance to share our mission with the kids there, and have fun with them too! Summer also brought some publicity; Executive Director Ben Doyle (Portsmouth '23), and Policy Director Lorely Godfrey, spoke on Seacoast Currents, a local radio show. This summer was also when we began gearing up for our big event of the fall, the Art Show.
The Seacoast Students for Sustainability Art Show and Auction took place on September 12 and 13 and the Seacoast Repertory Theatre. The planning was spearheaded by Editor-in-Chief, Jill Covey (Dover '23), Program Director, Finn Graff, and Kira Bailey (Portsmouth '23). Art was donated by both professional and student artists from across the seacoast, and the work was auctioned off to attendees. The night went wonderfully, and generous community members provided donations, and the opportunity to connect with them.
Despite it already being September, there were still a few more exciting events left for SS4S members. In October, Lorely Godfrey and Finn Graff got the opportunity to speak at the Alnoba Leadership Awards Teach-In to talk about getting youth engaged in sustainability. In early December, SS4S members from Oyster River and Spaulding attended Youth Climate Leadership Academy in Vermont for a weekend. The project wrapping up 2022 for SS4S is an initiative to put up signs in local school parking lots, reminding drivers not to leave their cars idling.
We're greatful for all current and past members for their support, and we are lucky to be ending 2022 with members from Portsmouth, Dover, Oyster River, and Spaulding. We're enthusiastic about 2023 and everything the new year will bring.