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The Mass Media

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UMB Students Headed For Econference 2001

In the middle of October, a group of UMass Boston students will join over 3000 students traveling to Washington DC for Econference 2001. Econference is a national student conference on the environment. The three-day conference will include activism, trainings, workshops, and a variety of speakers. Econference is an opportunity for students in environmental groups or interested in the environment nation-wide to join together to build the movement, share skills and learn about things that are being worked on in other states and schools.

Two years ago, at the first Econference, 3000 students traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to join together and strengthen the student movement. Among other things, students at the conference kicked-off the organization Ecopledge.com, an Internet grass roots organizing tool, through which students pledge not to work for certain corporations until the corporations have met specific environmental demands. Two years ago, in his keynote address, filmmaker Michel Moore called Ford Motor Company and announced that it would be the target of an Ecopledge student job-boycott, unless they withdrew from the Global Climate Coalition.

This year’s Conference promises to be just as exciting. A number of leaders have been invited to speak. Among those confirmed are John Passacantando, head of Greenpeace, and Lois Gibbs, a community organizer from Love Canal, New York, who organized residents when their public health was threatened by buried toxins. A number of other speakers, including anti-toxics advocate Erin Brockovich, former president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, and investigative journalist Bill Moyers, are also slated to attend the conference. Students at Econference will also participate in workshops on different environmental issues, trainings on different skills, and meet people from all different areas of the environmental movement.

The conference is being organized by a number of grassroots and student environmental organizations, including the State PIRGs. At least 7 students from UMass Boston’s MASSPIRG/Water Watch chapter are planning on attending the conference. Other students who are interested in finding out more about Econference 2001 should email [email protected], or stop by the MASSPIRG office on the 4th floor of Wheatley. You can also find out more online at www.econference2001.org.