Environmental Action Night spotlights UI green groups

By Avani Chhaya

The University YMCA hosted the Environmental Action Night on Wednesday.

Zach Merrin, social chair for Students for Environmental Concerns, or SECS, and graduate student, said this event was to educate University students about the different environmental groups on campus.

“It’s sort of like a “Quad Day for the environmental groups”:https://www.dailyillini.com/index.php/article/2011/08/rsos_begin_planning_for_2011_sustainability_efforts on campus where we all get to come out and say who we are and what we’re doing ­— try to find some opportunity to work together or to steal each others’ members,” he said.

Merrin said SECS is working “for positive change in the community and in the world.”

Amy Allen, leader of the coal campaign and senior in Engineering, said she is pushing an initiative to reduce coal use at the University.

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“We’re trying to give students an opportunity to get involved and send the message that there are a lot of opportunities; they can get involved in all different facets of environmentalism from activism like what SECS does to service, natural restoration projects (and) the student farm … ,” Allen said.

Whitney Hill, president of Illini Foresters and senior in ACES, said the group aims to focus on restoration projects and helping students become part of the forestry culture.

“We’re something to keep the tradition of forestry alive,” Hill said.

She said the purpose of Wednesday night was to recruit new members because a lot of the former members have graduated. Also, the forestry component has been cut from the natural resources and environmental sciences programs so it is vital to keep the group’s momentum going, Hill added. As a member of the organization, Hill said she has made good friends and has had the chance to apply classroom knowledge to field experience.

Katherine Mimnaugh, research staff member at Beckman Institute, said she is ““interested in working with green businesses””:https://www.dailyillini.com/index.php/article/2011/03/first_event_of_its_kind_offers_information_on_ecofriendly_living_prizes_for_attendees and wanted to learn more about the green programs offered at the University. She said there is a fantastic opportunity in finding someone to help out with sustainability efforts.

“I’m excited to learn more about that,” she said.

Allen said the sense of fulfillment she has received from being a part of the “environmental scene”:https://www.dailyillini.com/index.php/article/2011/04/earth_week_educates_people_about_environmental_initiatives on campus keeps drawing her back to the issues yet to be solved.

“I’ve always felt the urgency to act because of climate change, and coal is something that is present here on campus,” Allen said. “And students can have the opportunity to engage in it (too).”