Student News

The Environment and the Economy: 2024 Endeavor Fellow Paulo Araujo ’26

Paulo Araujo ’26 was home in Mozambique in 2019, the year two powerful cyclones, the most destructive in decades, hit the country within just a few weeks. It was the first time in recorded history two strong tropical cyclones struck in the same season. The storms killed 603 people, injured more than 1,500, and put 2.5 million people in need of humanitarian services.

Paulo Araujo ’26

“At that time, I did not know what climate change or global warming was,” Araujo said. 

He learned quickly, and environmental action became his primary academic interest and his focus at Bennington. He applied for and was accepted to the Endeavor Pre-fellowship class as a second-year student in the fall of 2023. 

Araujo’s fellowship placement was with the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater in Beacon, NY. Founded by folk singer Pete Seeger and others, the organization uses a replica Hudson River sloop as the centerpiece in its education and advocacy efforts to decontaminate the Hudson River, which had been severely polluted with industrial waste in the 1960s. The river was so polluted that fish from the river were toxic to consume. 

“I am just trying to use this opportunity to learn and make myself more aware of how we as people treat the environment and how the environment is affected by society itself,” Araujo said. “One of the things that I have learned at Clearwater is that the contamination of the Hudson River was the result of human action.” 

The project-based Field Work Term allowed Araujo to work remotely according to his own schedule. He updated press and legislative contact lists and read extensively in order to write blog and social media posts for the organization.  

After decades of education and advocacy by Clearwater, some fish in the Hudson River are now safe for some members of the population to eat in limited quantities. Araujo sees the connections between the environment, the fish as a natural resource, and the economy. 

“This Fellowship fits in with my plan, which combines economics and sustainability,” he said. “It helped me understand the contamination but also the work Clearwater is doing to restore the river.”