Humans of Harker: Introspection behind the surface

Expressing her freedoms, Anvi Banga’s (12) problem-solving mindset led her to activism


Olivia Guo

“People can have different views that I don’t agree with, but I don’t want to cast them away just because of that. You can be accepting of others even if you don’t share the same perspectives. By learning from others and just talking to more people, I’ve developed a more accepting mindset, rather than an extreme one,” Anvi Banga (12) said.

Among the chattering students in the athletic center, Anvi Banga (12) begins presenting the Green Team’s new campaign for Buy Better Boba at a school meeting. She confidently holds the microphone close to her smiling face as her clear, strong voice resounds throughout the athletic center. Never wavering, she speaks about the benefits of their team’s movement. 

While most people know Anvi for her voice in Green Team and her bubbly personality, it’s hard to imagine what led her to that role in activism. The growth of her thought-process all started back in her childhood, when she would often listen in on the discussions her parents were having at the dinner table.

“While I was sitting there, I would think a lot about what my family was talking about. They’re politically active, so they would have a lot of conversations about the news, current events and anything they see wrong in the world,” she said.

As she grew older, she began connecting those conversations to topics she encountered at school. Her journey with activism was fostered in the discussion-based environment that both her family and school community provided and she was introduced to the Green Team because her sister, Anika Banga (‘18), would often discuss topics around environmental issues. 

When she saw the impacts of the expansive California wildfires in 2018, she became highly invested in environmental change. 

“One of the topics that really resonated with me was environmental issues because my sister was part of the Green Team and would talk a lot about that. When there was a wildfire here, I actually saw the impact. It was actually impacting our daily lives. I thought that I really needed to do something about it,” Anvi said.

Inspired to take action, she saw how her father, Gaurav Banga, physically addressed issues he saw in the world. Anvi began developing a similar mindset.

“My dad has a startup because he saw that one of the biggest issues in the world for him was cybersecurity. I was influenced by that ‘when you see a problem, tackle it’ attitude,” Anvi said. “That was a big part of why [I invested so much time].”

Her adviser for the Green Team club, Diana Moss, explains how she saw Anvi turn into a leader which reflected that same attitude she developed from her dad’s influence. 

“Things she believes in, she believes in with a passion. Especially in the Green Team, her focus on changing the world is very admirable. I’ve seen her become more of a take-charge person in trying to get others more involved,” Moss said. 

Although environmental change has been her focus, Anvi has also grown as a thinker and an observer, noticing more issues she saw in her world and through that, trying to brainstorm solutions to those problems. 

“I try to stay as aware as I can be. I do sometimes sit and think about the ways I could potentially solve certain problems, so I think I have a problem-solving mindset that is ingrained in me now,” Anvi said. “In order to think about problems, you need to know they exist. Just by collecting information, I’ve started problem-solving more.”

Longtime friend and fellow cross country teammate Delaney Logue (12) articulates Anvi’s positive attitude and admirable work ethic not only in addressing world issues, but also in participating in outside activities.

“Anvi has such a power to her in that she does the absolute best she can in everything. In cross country, she leaves everything on the course. [She’s strong in that] she is able to make the best of a situation; she takes a not so fun situation, like running in 95-degree weather, and works with it and makes the best of it,” Delaney said. 

Through Green Team, Anvi also began interacting more with others in her community to find ways to spread the message about environmental change effectively. She learned that it takes incremental steps to reach people.

“Not everyone is going to have the same passion as me and not everyone cares about the things I care about. But, giving people small ways they can help without investing too much time or effort is how I go about [spreading information],” she said.

Aside from activism, Anvi also loves sharing her love of nail art with the community. Alongside her love of holographic and bright colors, she learned to use that time as a mental break.

“With art, you have a really steady hand. Once you paint the base layer, you can really do anything you want on top. This is really the first time I was into something this art-related,” Anvi said. “A lot of it is a mental break and it’s just a nice break from the rest of the world.”

Not only did it serve as a relaxing part of her days, but it became part of her thinking process.  

“When I paint my nails, I reflect a lot. What I try to do is come up with an idea, execute it, and then discuss with other people. Then, I try to come up with a better version with it,” she said.

Connecting to Anvi’s newer interest in nail painting, Delaney also expresses Anvi’s ability to balance her work and her relaxation time.

“She takes everything she can from every situation and doesn’t waste it, and part of that is because she’s learned to let loose a little bit. She knows when to get down to work and assert a situation to get things done, but she also knows when to let loose and just have fun.”

Through the process of reflecting, Anvi has learned the value of discussing ideas with other people. By listening to others, she began seeing her ideas from all different kinds of perspectives.

“It involves both reflection – because you have to figure out where you went wrong – but you also need different perspectives because you’re obviously not going to view all sides of the problem yourself,” Anvi said.

To this end, she started discussing with people she knew might not have the same views as her. In this way, she could gain opposing suggestions and develop a more multifaceted mindset.

“I like to surround myself with people who will challenge what I’m thinking. I don’t want to get too set in my beliefs,” Anvi said.  “I want to be able to learn new things, so I like to talk to people who are willing to discuss different views.”

Through her pursuit of making environmental change, Anvi has reflected on how she wants to affect the community. While she has opinions of her own, she has grown to interact with others and learn from them to expand her perspective outside of her own beliefs. 

People can have different views that I don’t agree with, but I don’t want to cast them away just because of that. You can be accepting of others even if you don’t share the same perspectives. By learning from others and just talking to more people, I’ve developed a more accepting mindset, rather than an extreme one,” Anvi said.