Jan 272011
 
Authors: Rachel Childs

Senior environmental communications major Alysse Brice has spent her time at CSU trying to save the world.

The former president of CSU’s Campus Coalition for Sustainability and current employee at the Environmental Learning Center, Brice has made it her duty to bring the issue of global climate change to students and improve CSU’s commitment to living green in the face of what she sees as a global catastrophe.

“This is really kind of an impending doom that can be very difficult to deal with,” Brice said.
With the help of grant money, Brice motivated the student community to adopt a more environmentally friendly lifestyle through the Green Warrior Campaign.

This year’s campaign opened Jan. 24 and runs until Apr. 2. The program allows students to report their environmentally conscious efforts by logging in online to earn points and receive prizes for their contributions to the planet.

Her work will recognized by the 4th annual Clinton Global Initiative University meeting, an effort started by former U.S. President Bill Clinton to bring student leaders together to combat the world’s toughest issues.

“I’m prepared to kind of step up as a leader of my generation and have these discussions with people that are in the government and people that are making the decisions now,” Brice said.

This year’s conference will be held April 1-3 at the University of California at San Diego. It will accommodate 1,200 students and non-profit leaders from around the world with workshops and discussions with world leaders and politicians, focusing on global issues like education, the environment, poverty and human rights.

Activities will include leadership workshops and meetings with world leaders and celebrities like actor Sean Penn.

“We will spend the weekend to engage with other likeminded students who are committed to change and committed to making a difference,” said CGIU Director Keisha Senter.

Attendees have to complete a Commitment to Action application process where they address a global issue and provide a detailed, thoughtful method of how to combat it. The plan must address a specific problem and have a way to measure the results once the project has been put in place.

Past projects have included school building in Kenya, garden projects in inner-city Oakland and library renovations in Louisiana post-hurricane Katrina. Senter said as long as the project is thoughtful and addresses a problem, no plan is too small.

“Each year I’m humbled by the projects and the programs initiated by the students,” Senter said.

In 2009, Brice earned CSU a $47,000 grant at the Global Climate Change Initiative Conference hosted by the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability and Higher Education.

She used part of the money to start the 2010 Green Warrior Campaign, in which 250 students received prizes for reporting their environmentally conscious actions online for points.

The idea came from a class project that investigated CSU’s efforts at being environmentally conscious. It grew into a campaign with a message that Brice wants to spread throughout the community.

“Taking that knowledge and awareness and transforming it into a change of attitudes and modifying behavior can be just so challenging, but what I do personally is take the problem side of it and the negativity and infuse it with lots of positivity,” Brice said.

Her interest in the environment was present throughout her childhood, but after seeing former U.S. Vice President Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth,” she knew something had to happen in order to keep the world a livable place.

She switched from a double major in philosophy and political science to the human dimensions focus of the Warner College of Natural Resources after taking a class on insects. She enjoyed the nature aspect but wanted to translate her passion into motivating other students to care about the natural world.

“Learning is so much fun. Working together with people and making changes gives me a rush. It’s exciting, so I guess that’s what keeps me going,” Brice said.

Crime Reporter Rachel Childs can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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