This weekend, at the Greening of the Ivies conference at the University, environmental student leaders from Cornell, Brown, Princeton and Yale Universities, as well as University of Pennsylvania and Dartmouth College formed the Ivy League Environmental Coalition (ILEC).
As its charter states, ILEC is a non-partisan coalition whose goals include coordinating environmental activities and campaigns across schools, facilitating communications between organizations, conveying opinions to the press and public and to, “save the world.”
In addition to these goals, the charter also establishes an executive council and a system of delegates to represent the various schools and coordinate activities.
Although the Greening of the Ivies conference is an annual event in its fifth year, the ILEC is the first time the groups have joined together in a permanent organization.
The idea occurred naturally, growing from a variety of people’s ideas, according to James Deboer, a sophomore at Brown who wrote the charter.
“I thought it was a good idea and I think a lot of people had it in their minds to make a lasting organization,” he said.
The ILEC began as an idea of coordinating efforts between schools, one of the goals of the Greening of the Ivies conference. The idea of coalition building permeated the conference, beginning with Friday night’s speech by Prof. Donald Barr, city and regional planning.
“I think it would be really something … [if you built] a strong coalition and keep in touch with each other,” he said.
The idea of the ILEC continued to develop after a series of workshops on Saturday afternoon and a panel discussion on Saturday night. Talking over dinner, the group created the document from a consensus of ideas from all students.
Yesterday morning, during the closing meeting of the conference, participants ratified the charter with a unanimous thumbs-up.
Many students believe that the ILEC is an important step towards coordinated environmental action between schools.
“I feel that the spirit of this kind of thing was present at the previous Greening of the Ivies conferences but we’ve never had a group to implement it for us,” said Bria Morgan ’04, a member of the Cornell Greens. “I think it’s going to start being a much more active, much more useful group.”
Christelle Munnelly ’05, president of the Cornell Greens, agreed.
“You could tell it was really going to last this time. In other years, it was a lot of talk, [and] no action but this year was different,” she said.
In addition to furthering action, the coalition may increase each individual organization’s influence, according to Barr.
“The inter-university [aspect] gives them an enormous amount of potential power,” he said.
Most of the student leaders present expressed enthusiasm for the idea.
“I think it’s an excellent idea for further communication,” said Justin Spenser, of the Princeton Environmental Network. “It’s the same idea as the conferences, just intensifying communications.”
Archived article by Shannon Brescher