Become an IFSA Officer at UW! – Positions now OPEN

IFSA @ UW has some unexpected new officer positions – an excellent opportunity for students wanting to get more involved at UW and with IFSA.

The University of Washington International Forestry Students Association (IFSA at UW) is one of the many Local Committees worldwide that make up IFSA: the world’s largest student-run nonprofit engaged in sustainable development. As the youth voice for the United Nations, IFSA’s mission is to engage students in environmental issues on the international level– ranging from policy and economics to science and education. For students, IFSA is an adventure in perspective, community, professionalism, travel, and most of all, fun.

The IFSA Local Committee at UW is growing fast, and it needs your ingenuity! Apply by March 1st, 2016 to be amongst the many officers that help this RSO be the best it can be!

If you have any questions or want to meet with someone to hear more about the club, please email Natalie Gray (ngray27@uw.edu) or Salina Abraham (salina.ifsa@gmail.com).

You can apply here:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1KJELNFXqujrSGZ2vj65g-cM2q3QGOED-sRLar5d1ic0/viewform

UW IFSA Members Excelling in Paris

UW IFSA sent four students to Paris this December and the UW College of the Environment wrote an excellent piece on their experience:

“Students from the College of the Environment lived a dream in Paris—they took part in a global conversation about how to combat climate change alongside leaders and decision-makers, shared their perspectives as youth representing the Pacific Northwest, and expanded their understanding of the planet’s interconnected landscapes through forged connections.

Now back in Seattle after attending the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF), part of the Paris climate talks, the group of University of Washington students is united in their call for greater youth perspective in discussions about the future of our planet.

“2015 was a huge year for internatthumb_IMG_8742_1024-cropped-375x250ional climate legislation. It was important for youth to be there and for our voice to be heard,” senior Salina Abraham said. “To be present was powerful.”

GLF attendees, 3,200 people from 135 countries, were committed to looking at the complexities of climate change and its impacts on landscapes together. Abraham, along with Natalie Gray and Rachel Yonemura from the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences and Lars Olson from the Department of Biology were able to attend through their involvement in UW’s chapter of the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA).

The students learned from leaders in forestry, agriculture, water, energy, law, and finance who addressed everything from resilient landscapes to green growth compacts and watched as innovative products and initiatives aimed at tackling real-world issues were launched, all while sitting at the center of a global conversation. Representing four of 50 IFSA members chosen to attend the GLF, the UW students also networked with their peers—now friends and likely future collaborators—from Belgium, the Philippines, and beyond.

“The youth are everything. They have the energy, mindset, and flexibility to implement big ideas,” Gray said. “Enabling young people to live up to their full potential is one of the things we think is most necessary moving forward.”

As head of IFSA’s International Processes and a member of the Youth in Landscapes initiative, Abraham spoke at the conference’s closing session, calling for stakeholders to engage youth in tough conversations and value their potential contributions:

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Empowered by their experience abroad, the students hope to strengthen youth engagement in climate issues at UW. Several even participated in a climate roundtable discussion with Governor Inslee held at the College of the Environment on the heels of the Paris meeting. The governor, inspired by their efforts, officially deemed the group “Washingtonians of the Day.”

“As young people, we have a chance to bridge the generational gap by creating more opportunities to connect youth to key players in management. The GLF taught us that there was more work to be done in Seattle to demonstrate the power that students have in high-level environmental engagement,” Gray said.

Eiffel Tower during the Paris Climate Talks.

RACHEL YONEMURA
Eiffel Tower during the Paris Climate Talks.

Personalized help navigating and completing conference applications, locating opportunities for travel funding, and hosting workshops to grow students’ networking skills are a few of the ways they’re working to bolster youth participation in global conversations as part of UW’s IFSA chapter. They recently hosted a Pecha Kucha night, giving students a platform to practice public speaking, as well as participate in a monthly virtual Coffee Hour that connects students from across the United States and Canada. They hope to continue building on and growing these programs, and add more into the mix, to fully realize their goal.

If you’re a UW student and interested in getting more involved, check out the UW chapter of IFSA or visit them on Facebook. If you’re a student at the College of the Environment and you’re planning to attend an upcoming conference or event, visit the Student Travel &  Meeting Fund page for travel funding opportunities.

Written by: Kelly Knickerbocker, kknick@uw.edu