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Kaushik Tota ’21 recognized by state officials

Senior Kaushik Tota recently received the Youth Game Changer Award from the California Energy Commission for his work in empowering fellow youths to fight climate change.

“I was absolutely dumbfounded and beyond grateful to receive such a recognition,” said Kaushik.

Kaushik created the Climate Youth Ambassador Program, in which he and other teens present at community events across the Bay Area and conduct assemblies at elementary and middle schools. Receiving the honor is validation that teens can wield power to make positive changes in their communities.

“I was very proud and grateful to know that people appreciated my work and felt that it was important enough to warrant giving an award to. The fact that the CEC chose to make this a recognition is very inspiring as it shows that adults are listening to us and are taking action because of our words, thoughts and efforts,” he said. 

Kaushik was one of the six recipients honored in the inaugural Clean Energy Hall of Fame ceremony. 

While the lockdown has dramatically hampered the Climate Youth Ambassadors’ efforts in how they reach students and other community members, the teen advocates still managed to hold nine virtual events since the start of the pandemic, reaching an audience of 700 individuals. Trying new ideas, Kaushik and his team of ambassadors are hosting the Sustainability Trivia Series in December and January, designed to be fun and interactive trivia competitions for elementary and middle school students.  

“We hope to continue providing engaging sustainability-oriented experiences, eventually returning to an in-person format and working with schools and libraries to bring youth informative and personalized climate education programs,” said Kaushik.

For more information on the program’s Sustainability Trivia Series, visit inyurl.com/cyap-sts.