April 18, 2019  

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Southern Miss Student Leaders Attend Annual Summit on Environmental Law and Policy

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Members of the student organization, EcoEagles, hosted a water tasting challenge during the fall semester on The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park campus. From left to right, Brenna Landis, Brenden DeBrie and Marla Cooper asked fellow students if they could tell the difference between bottled water and tap water. (Submitted photo)

After attending the 20th Annual Summit on Environmental Law and Policy at Tulane University Law School last week, Brenna Landis and Marla Cooper, University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park campus students, both believe they were given a more in-depth look at sustainability which can be shared with the student organization, EcoEagles.

Landis, who serves as the EcoEagles president, and Cooper, who serves as vice president, attended the two-day summit in New Orleans with the goal of gaining information that could be shared with other members of EcoEagles and disseminated to the university community. The goal of the student organization is to address sustainability on both the campus and in the community.

“This was the first time for either of us to attend the summit,” said Landis, a resident of Biloxi who is working on a double major in English and political science. “I wanted to attend because I’m interested in sustainability and climate change. I follow national issues, as well as some locally, but after attending the summit, I have a more comprehensive view of issues affecting the southeast region.”

Cooper, a resident of Wade and an English major, said attending the conference allowed both students to make connections with knowledgeable and influential people.

“In EcoEagles, we’ve taken on a variety of projects around campus, like cleaning Bear Point Bayou, water testing with the help of the Pascagoula River Audubon Center, screening documentaries and hosting lunch and learn events. We even hosted a water tasting challenge where we asked our fellow students if they could tell the difference between bottled water and tap water.”

In addition to hosting their own events, EcoEagles has also partnered with other organizations, and even a capstone class, to help find ways to support sustainability on campus. One of those partnerships included a project with the Gulf Park campus Student Government Association. Looking to improve the area of Bear Point Bayou that winds through the center of campus, both organizations, along with university administrators, worked to have a fountain installed. The fountain serves as an aerator to keep the bayou water circulating.

EcoEagles hosts bi-weekly meetings that are open to both the university and local community. For more information about EcoEagles or other student organizations on the Southern Miss Gulf Park campus, email gcstudents@usm.edu.