Making an Impact through Film: Elise Dadourian ’16 Educates on Sustainability

Eighth grade science teacher Caroline Feldman ’05 lit up when she heard that her former student, Elise Dadourian ’16, had made a documentary about food waste for her senior year thesis at Brown. The film would fit perfectly into Feldman’s unit on food and sustainability, so she quickly created a lesson plan to incorporate her former student’s work into her science unit.
Dadourian’s documentary, The Global Waste Crisis and The Danish Solution, focuses on food-waste reduction in Denmark, a global leader in food sustainability. Dadourian first became interested in the relationship between food and the environment in a U.S. history course while she was still a student at Shipley. It was Copenhagen’s reputation as one of the most sustainable cities in the world that initially attracted Dadourian to study abroad there, and a new course in food sustainability being offered in the Danish capital would tie in perfectly with her senior thesis.
“In the Autumn of 2018, I began planning my senior thesis,” wrote Dadourian, an environmental studies major. “A documentary seemed the natural way to combine environmental science and film, my two fields of study. I chose to focus on food waste in particular because it seemed like something easy to fix. When it comes to combating the climate crisis and decreasing carbon footprints, food waste is the “low-hanging fruit.”Thwarting its effects requires no new technology or political revolution; it merely requires a change in the attitudes and behaviors of individuals.”

Dadourian’s film was the perfect addition to Feldman’s unit on Food & Sustainability, which students completed with a research paper on food security problems and solutions in U.S. cities, and a virtual visit from Dadourian. The alumna was able to share her passion for the environment and film-making with Shipley’s eighth graders, inspiring the next generation of Shipley Changemakers.

Watch some clips from Elise Dadourian's visit with Middle School science students.

Dadourian talks about making the documentary.

The problem of food waste and employing Danish solutions in the United States.

The impact of Covid-19 on food waste and sustainability.



The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.