The winners of the 2018 poll for leadership in sustainability and social justice were celebrated at Earth Day Ithaca on April 22.

Maddi Carroll, Annabella Mead-VanCort, Prachi Ruina, Eamon Nunn-Makepeace, and Ari Cummings of Students United Ithaca.

In the Youth category, student groups from Ithaca High School and Trumansburg High School were recognized for their activism. Students United Ithaca gained national attention for their courage in challenging casting decisions for their high school musical, which led to significant and fruitful conversations to address racism in the school district. A dozen students led by Trumansburg teacher Jane George and Gertrude Nolen of Words into Deeds participated in the United Nations Youth Voices on Climate Change, joining over 300 international students in sharing perspectives and drafting a consensus action plan to address global warming.

Whitham Planning and Design took first place in the Business category for their leadership in getting developers to achieve energy efficiencies as much as 40% better than code and for their efforts to involve the public in design issues for large projects in the Ithaca area. Ithaca Times, Tompkins Weekly, Liquid State Brewing, Nikki Green, Tiny Timber, Brookton Market were also recognized for their contributions.

Shawna Black came in first in the Individual category this year for her active leadership on social and environmental issues as a freshman county legislator, especially in helping raise awareness on addiction issues and develop new harm reduction programs. Nick Goldsmith and the Green Building Policy Advisory Committee were celebrated for their many hours of work developing new guidelines for more environmentally responsible development in the City of Ithaca.

Voters were enthusiastic about nominating OAR (Opportunities, Alternatives & Resources) for first place in the Organization category for their wonderful Endeavor House project. Their purchase and volunteer-led rehabilitation of a home is now providing transitional housing for the formally incarcerated. Ithaca Families Gift Economy, Get Your GreenBack Tompkins, HeatSmart Tompkins, and the Ithaca Chapter of SURJ (Standing Up for Racial Justice) were also recognized for their outstanding work.