Empowering Student Advocacy: Bridging Holistic Wellness and Environmental Justice
On April 17, 2023, North Carolina Black Alliance collaborated with the North Carolina A&T State University Earth and Environmental Science Club to host a program about Bridging Holistic Wellness and Environmental Justice. This program was part of the various programs and events for the Earth and Environmental Science Club’s Green Week leading up to Earth Day on Saturday, April 22. The purpose of this program was for the North Carolina Black Alliance to share information on the connection between environmental justice and holistic wellness. The presentation educated, inspired, and helped college students interested in leading a holistic lifestyle and making the connection from the environmental justice movement to the people both involved and affected by it.
Dejanae Davis, Environmental Justice Fellow, presented on Environmental Justice, and Kristen Pearson, Environmental Justice Associate, produced the Holistic Wellness and Lifestyle portion of the program. With the knowledge and experience of these two changemakers, students were captivated by the presentation, the importance of being involved in environmental justice as a North Carolina resident, and how to maintain a holistic lifestyle as a college student.
We conducted a post-event program survey with students on what was an important aspect they learned after attending the Bridging Holistic Wellness and Environmental Justice program. Here are a few points students shared :
- Presence of PFAS in Greensboro
- Use of herbs to improve immune health
- Environmental Health is intersectional with Human Health
- Importance of ecological integrity
- Water contaminants and waste pollution in North Carolina
A significant aspect of this program was how students were engaged and participated in open conversations surrounding environmental justice in North Carolina and holistic lifestyle recommendations that North Carolina Black Alliance presented. For example, although some students were from North Carolina, they expressed that they were unaware of the Environmental Justice movement and its impact. Furthermore, students mentioned how they hadn’t heard of how specific natural herbs and ingredients can positively impact reproductive health.
Overall, students were encouraged to become and remain active in educating themselves about Environmental Justice in North Carolina while being more aware of how to lead a more holistic lifestyle and how wellness can impact your body and mental health. Attendees were encouraged to share one word to describe the program’s presentations. Some of the feedback provided included insightful, stimulating, eye-opening, and revealing. Overall, the program successfully empowered students to become aware of Environmental Justice advocacy in North Carolina and how they can lead a healthier lifestyle through holistic wellness.
Environmental/Health Equity Fellow