The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ) has played an integral part in the development of students in the Environmental Justice (EJ) arena through its EJ Interns Program and the employment of graduate assistants and student assistants. The DSCEJ seeks to involve students in many aspects of its community outreach and research. In an effort to make students more aware of the environmental justice arena, students are invited to receive hands-on experience by immersing themselves in community environmental problems and working to solve these problems.
Students employed at the DSCEJ have an opportunity to attend meetings and get involved in specific projects such as health surveys, workshops, the annual EJ Symposiums, other professional meetings and the Students for Environmental Justice Club (SEJC). These students learn about EJ issues in general and specifically about the plight of community residents most severely impacted by the struggle.
Environmental Justice and Environmental Sustainability are two of the most important tenets of the work conducted at the DSCEJ, and those tenets lay the foundation for all Center activities. Providing financial support for students is overshadowed by a desire to foster their professional development. As a result, student participation in professional meetings has been funded each year. Many of the EJ Interns have become environmental professionals, including two who are environmental lawyers, one who works for the Environmental Protection Agency and one who is currently enrolled in graduate school at the University of California at Davis in environmental studies. One of our former student interns was featured in the September 2006 issue of "Seventeen" magazine for her work in environmental justice.
The Students for Environmental Justice Club (SEJC) along with the Melton Foundation Scholars launched the "Recycle Madness" Recycling Campaign in March 2008 on Dillard University's campus. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, storm debris and waste continue to fill landfills throughout the metro New Orleans area. We must become proactive in helping to reduce waste to protect our environment and conserve energy. Waste reduction can begin on a small scale for improvements to be achieved. Our recycling initiative began with paper and will expand to plastics and beyond in the fall. Since the recycling campaign was launched in March, over 1,400 lbs of paper has been recycled. The students, faculty, and administration at Dillard University are making many strides to rebuild its beautiful and historic campus in an environmentally friendly way.
The DSCEJ sponsors activities to enhance environmental justice awareness. Workshops and seminars are held to promote the infusion of sustainability and equity, to develop a comprehensive student-focused project with faculty and staff participation, to introduce sustainability and equity concepts to students by students and to integrate community outreach and support initiatives into program activities.
Activities designed to accomplish these goals include:
- Toxic Tours
- Topical Seminars
- Primary and Secondary Environmental Education
- Community Workshops and Seminars
- Campus Sustainability Recycling Program