Eric Fuchs-Stengel, a senior in NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, has been named a recipient of the 2014 New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Award for Public Service.
Fuchs-Stengel was selected in the category of “Environmental Stewardship” in recognition of the accomplishments of the Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization (MEVO), which Fuchs-Stengel founded as a high school junior.
Fuchs-Stengel, whose concentration is Ecological Sustainability and Social Change, is MEVO’s Executive Director.
This award, administered by the Community Foundation of New Jersey, the Star-Ledger/NJ.com, and the Governor’s Advisory Council on Volunteerism, recognizes those who “achieve measurable community impact and represent outstanding acts of public service” while showing “unique vision, dedication, and tenacity of heroic proportion and serve as inspiration for others.” It is part of the national Jefferson Awards, which honor achievements in public service.
The Environmental Stewardship category is underwritten by PSEG.
Fuchs-Stengel and this year’s other recipients will be recognized at a ceremony and reception on June 9 at the Newark Museum in Newark. Later next month, he will attend the national awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., where he will also meet with New Jersey’s elected officials to discuss his organization.
In 2013, Fuchs-Stengel was named New Jersey’s “Environmentalist of the Year” by New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection for his work with MEVO.
MEVO, which Fuchs-Stengel founded in 2008, aims to educate and empower residents in Mahwah—his hometown—and those throughout New Jersey in creating environmentally sustainable communities. The organization engages volunteers of all ages in environmental initiatives ranging from large-scale illegal trash dumping clean-ups to building organic farms and local beekeeping.
Fuchs-Stengel, who will graduate with a minor in Environmental Studies, explains that the volunteers who work with MEVO believe they must take action today to address the serious global environmental problems of the world.
Fuchs-Stengel has attracted some 1,500 volunteers who have dedicated more than 20,000 hours to community projects. These volunteers are seeking to create a better future by building an environmental movement that has a vision for a sustainable and equal society.