My name is Elia (pronounced EH-lee-uh). I’m an Italian student, environmental activist, and social entrepreneur who loves to discover the multiple aspects of the relationship between Planet Earth and its inhabitants. Using my scientific background, leadership skills, and a multidisciplinary approach on sustainability, I seek to find and create new ways for human development and nature to interact in a mutually beneficial manner.
I grew up in Augusta, in the Siracusa province on the eastern coast of Sicily, Italy. As my hometown is situated less than nine miles from the largest petrochemical district in Europe, I have seen firsthand how “short-term gain for big money” thinking can wreck the long-term health of a community and its environment.
At the age of 17, my adventurous spirit and determination to learn more about the world brought me to Hawaiʻi on a yearlong study abroad program. Well, five years later and I am still here! This “terrestrial paradise” watered my passion and love for the natural world, allowing it to sprout and be nurtured by other like-minded individuals. The connection between community and environment is what prompted me to stay in Hawaiʻi, which I now call home.
After obtaining an associate’s degree of natural sciences at Kapiolani Community College, I am now pursuing a BA in sustainability studies, a major I created under the Interdisciplinary Studies Department at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. With my education, I seek to understand how scientific knowledge can be applied to global issues with the goal of implementing holistic solutions.
I am highly invested in the sustainable and environmental movement among local communities of students and nonprofit organizations. I was recently elected to serve on the Associated Students of the University of Hawaiʻi (ASUH), which is the undergraduate student government at the Mānoa campus. I also hold a position as research assistant in a biogeochemistry laboratory doing research on sustainable farming practices.
In 2015, I founded the HNL Tool Library, a nonprofit that allows community members to share tools and equipment. By sharing instead of buying, the local community reduces its impact on the environment and grows more connected. You can learn more about the exciting things we are doing—and planning—by visiting our website.
In my free time, I can be found in my garden growing food, hiking, surfing or hanging out with my pet chickens.
Feel free to reach out to me! My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.