Typically, established professionals are appointed to the state Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Environmental Justice Advisory Board (EJAB).
But Anthony David, one of the board’s newest members, is far from typical.
David, a third-year Environmental Science and Sustainability major at Harrisburg University, recently was appointed to serve on the board that makes recommendations on existing or proposed DEP regulations and policies that affect the environmental health of communities.
David’s term on the board began Feb. 17 and will run through Jan. 1, 2024.
“This school year, I made a commitment to myself to be more involved in the Harrisburg community,” the Washington, D.C. native said of why he wanted to serve on the board. “I learned about some of the environmental issues that are happening in the area, specifically the illegal dumping that has been happening in the Camp Curtin neighborhood. Once I met with different community members, I learned about DEP’s EJAB and attended some of the meetings as a public member, and then applied for a position for the new year.”
Originally an Integrative Science major, the 21-year-old aspiring environmental justice researcher and sustainability consultant switched to HU’s B.S. in Environmental Science and Sustainability program during his sophomore year because he is passionate about the environment, and he realized there’s a huge need for black environmental scientists.
And when a student decides to pursue a career in Environmental Science and Sustainability, it’s not simply a career decision; it’s more of a calling, said HU Biology and Ecology Professor, Dr. Christine Proctor.
For David, that calling centers around providing equitable access to a clean and healthy environment, Proctor said.
HU Environmental Science and Sustainability professors regularly provide opportunities for students to interact with local professionals, she said. David has taken full advantage of those opportunities and is always the first to volunteer for a local event or to attend community meetings, Proctor added.
“The Harrisburg community took notice of his dedication, and he was encouraged to apply for an open position on the state’s Environmental Justice Advisory Board,” she said. “His appointment highlights the extra mile he is always willing to go (in the classroom or in the community), the level of professionalism he displays when interacting with the community, and the importance of taking full advantage of networking opportunities. This is just the beginning of the incredible career ahead of him. I believe Anthony will succeed in making this world a better place.”
While David’s appointment to the board is unique, he does not think his passion for the environment is all that unusual for his age.
Growing up in D.C., David saw many youth activists, including himself, at the forefront of many social movements and even had opportunities to testify before Congress.
“I wanted to serve on the board to bring a youth perspective to the board when making decisions on certain regulations and policies,” David said. “Even though young people may not have the experience or the wisdom that comes with age, we are still opinionated critical thinkers who are more than ready to do the work to make the world a better place.”
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