By KENNY MONTEITH, Staff Writer
A national student environmental conference to be held at UNC Oct. 27 to 29 has received much national and international publicity over the past few weeks, including an article in the Russian newspaper Pravda. Threshold, sponsored by the Campus Y's Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC), has been mentioned in magazines such as Mother Jones and Greenpeace, and also on MTV. Michael Stipe, lead singer of R.E.M, has even recorded a public service announcement for the conference. Other newspapers such as The New York Times will attend, as well as the Associated Press. Some major news networks, including CBS, may also cover what is considered to be the biggest student environmental conference ever.
"The response is incredible," said James Langman, conference chairman of SEAC. "It's really weird because people in L.A. could hear about it from four or five different sources. "There are students coming from Seattle; Dallas; Lincoln, Neb.; and St. Paul, Minn. They want to join and be a part of something big." According to organizers, the conference is expected to bring more than 1,000 students from more than 200 universities in 43 states. Langman said most of the people attending would be college students, although he has heard from some high school students and even one sixth-grader. "I got a call from a girl in Mississippi who saw it advertised on TV, and she wanted to know more about it."
SEAC Co-Chairwoman Ericka Kurz said some local universities were planning to attend. "We have a good committee at Duke and two or three people at State." Alec Guettel, co-chairman of SEAC, said the group hoped to educate students from all over the country on how to have an impact on environmental issues. "We also want to consolidate SEAC and come up with some major campaigns. This is the beginning of a national student movement. There's never been a unified student voice." Threshold marks a major accomplishment for SEAC, allowing the group to bring environmental awareness not only to the campus, but also to the nation, members of the organization said. Although many students from other universities are attending, Kurz and Langman emphasized that these universities were not involved in the planning stages of Threshold, and that SEAC was the only environmental group organizing this conference.
Threshold will showcase speeches by environmental leaders from around the country. The topics will include the disappearing of tropical rain forests and global warming. The conference is holding workshops in recycling, governmental regulation, urban ecology and grassroots activism. The Indigo Girls will stage a benefit concert at 9 p.m. on Oct. 28 in Memorial Hall.