Elmhurst U. Senior Wins Environmental Film Contest Prize

September 14, 2023 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

Sarah Glees, Elmhurst UniversityElmhurst University senior Sarah Glees will receive an Environmental Action Award this weekend from the One Earth Young Filmmakers Contest for her short film about the environmental impact of a major roadway and bridge project near her hometown of West Dundee, Ill.

During the contest’s Global Awards Celebration this Sunday, Glees will receive her award and a $500 scholarship from the Environmental Law and Policy Center, and also will attend the premiere of her film, The Long-Lived Effects of the Longmeadow Parkway. Other U.S. winners of the contest are from California, Georgia and Indiana, while global winners are from Brazil, Australia and Mexico.

The Young Filmmakers Contest asks students ages 8 to 25 to create a 3- to 8-minute environmental film that inspires change or action. Glees’ 7-minute film explores concerns about potential water and soil contamination and air pollution linked to the Longmeadow Parkway, a four-lane Fox River Bridge crossing and arterial roadway in northern Kane County that is partially open while still under construction. She wrote in her contest submission, “It means so much to share this story and hopefully evoke change.”

She came up with the subject for the film after taking an environmental history class with Associate Professor Karen Benjamin. For their final paper, students were asked to look at a recent change in the environmental history of their hometown.

“A huge focus of the class was about the things happening in your own back yard, so it’s not just about the melting of the polar ice caps or these big, broad topics you feel you have no control over,” she said. “It’s about what’s happening in your own hometowns.”

The Global Awards Celebration begins at 11:30 a.m. CT on Sunday, Sept. 17, in person at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St. in Chicago; or online remotely­­­­­. Free tickets to the film screenings are available at oneearthfilmfest.org/global-contest-awards-celebration.

Since its inception in 2013, the One Earth Young Filmmakers Contest has grown from a local, Oak Park, Ill., project to a highly competitive international competition that garnered more than 400 submissions this year.

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