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Activist Spotlight: Lauren Brajer With the Jersey Shore Chapter

Q: What is your current role with the Surfrider Foundation?
I'm currently the Chair of the Jersey Shore Chapter.

Q: Why and when did you get involved with the Surfrider Foundation?
I was inspired to get involved in 2012 after losing my home during Hurricane Sandy in Manahawkin, NJ, and relocating to Ocean Grove, NJ. I volunteered to update the website and help with social media. Before I knew it, I was Vice Chair a few weeks later.

Lauren Brajer with the Surfrider Jersey Shore Chapter in a Kayak

Q: What are some environmental issues that are affecting your local community?
Climate change leading to beach erosion, which also increases the need for replenished dune grass and updated public policy.

Q: What Surfrider projects have you worked on?
I was involved in the plastic bag/styrofoam takeout ban and intentional balloon release ban. I am currently involved with an open legal issue in Ocean Grove, NJ, regarding beach access on Sundays before noon and a trespassing lawsuit against a township community member.

Q: Are there any specific projects that you have worked on that benefited your community? If so, can you tell us about that?
Working with the folks at Sea.Hear.Now. has been a great way to increase involvement and awareness for our Surfrider chapter. Each year, we work with hundreds of volunteers to ensure a plastic-free music festival in Asbury Park, NJ. Recently, they announced the 2024 festival so we are doing something right!

Lauren Brajer with the Surfrider Jersey Shore Chapter at the Sea Hear Now Festivalk

Q: What has been the highlight of your Surfrider experience?
The thing I treasure most about Surfrider is the human connection. We have the unique ability to connect with people in our communities that we might have otherwise never crossed paths with. We all have a shared love of the ocean and are dedicated to protecting what we love. This love connects us in a way that I never experienced before. I will forever treasure the people of Surfrider and the long-lasting friendships I've created over the years.

Q: What is the most important thing you tell others about Surfrider?
When people ask "Why should I join?" it's always hard to find the best answer. I think the most important aspect of Surfrider is the "doing." What are we "doing" to help protect the ocean, waves, and beaches? We aren't just going to meetings and hosting events — we are raising awareness, we are changing policies, we are changing minds, and most importantly, we are just DOING! 

Lauren Brajer with the Surfrider Jersey Shore Chapter at a beach cleanup

Q: Why is being a part of the Surfrider ocean conservation community important to you?
As a displaced member of my community due to a natural disaster, I had a brief moment where I was angry at the ocean for taking my home. After joining the Jersey Shore Chapter and learning more about environmental policy and speaking to others who had a shared experience with me, I created an outlet for that anger to turn into positive action. The ocean didn't take anything from me. It gives freely to me every single day. I am grateful to my Surfrider for the opportunity to educate and serve my community, while working towards possibly preventing future disasters.

Q: Anything else? 
Thank you to my entire executive board and dedicated volunteers for your tireless efforts, professionalism, and passion for the Jersey Shore! You are truly my second family and I look forward to amazing accomplishments in the coming years!

Lauren Brajer with the Surfrider Jersey Shore Chapter