Each year, SCUBAnauts attempts to fly up to Washington D.C. to take part in Capitol Hill Oceans Week (CHOW).
Unfortunately, due to the Corona Virus, the last two years for CHOW have been a virtual event. This year, however, the event was in-person. We arrived on Monday, a day early, to get situated for the hectic week to come. We were able to visit the Smithsonian Zoo and eat at an exquisite Lebanese restaurant for dinner, then went to bed satisfied and excited for the days to come.
Day 1 – CHOW Panels
On Tuesday we woke up at 7 AM and hopped on the metro to go to the Ronald Reagan building where CHOW was being held. As soon as we got to the area, we were surrounded by more than a hundred people. They ranged from Representatives all the way to normal people who wanted to learn how to make a difference in the battle against environmental issues.
We listened to four panels, all of which talked about what the future of the environment held. Each panel was an hour and a half long, and in between each panel we had half an hour to network. Networking consisted of going up to booths of companies and asking them what they did. Once they explained what they were doing, we then gave them a short description of SCUBAnauts. This was done to help expand our program by informing people about what we do and how we make an impact on the environment. Once we saw the last panel, it was time for the gala.
Time to Dress Up!
We boys quickly got dressed and, of course, took a mirror selfie to show off our style. Once we completed this, we headed for the gala. At the gala, hundreds of people were milling around waiting to be talked to. We broke up into two groups of three and made our way around the room. We informed numerous people about who we were and what we do. These people included politicians, business owners, and environmental conservationists. We were all there for one purpose. To save the environment.
Everyone was inclined to hear who we were, and we even got the contact information for a potential sponsor for SCUBAnauts. Eventually the bell was rung and it was time to eat a beautiful meal of fresh vermillion snapper and listen to the awards. At the end of the night, we mingled around for one more hour before we headed home with full stomachs.
The next day we woke up at 8 AM and headed to the second day of panel meetings. These panels were much like the panels the day before. They all focused on “seaing the future” and I started to pick up the theme of how all the scientists were talking about how they were struggling to connect to the public. This taught me that while I should always work on perfecting my data collection, it is equally important to perfect my ability to speak and connect with people.
Overall, these first three days were very eye opening and exciting. We have two more days on the Hill, and I can’t wait to experience what will happen.
— Logan M., 2nd Class Naut, Sarasota Chapter