Welcome to the online home of YSEC! We are the umbrella organization for all the different student environmental groups on campus.

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Past Leadership

Past Leadership

  • 2012-2013
  • President: Patrick Reed, BR ’15
  • Vice President: Carlos Gould, TC ’15
  • Treasurer: Justine Appel, ES ’15
  • Events Coordinator: Kathryn Culhane, DC ’15
  • Spring Term 2012
  • President: Julie Botnick, BR ’14
  • Vice President: Emanuel Feld, SM ’13
  • Treasurer: Patrick Reed, BR ’15
  • Events Coordinator: Rick Herron, PC ’13
  • 2011
  • President: Sam Bendinelli, BK ’13
  • Vice President: Rachel Webster, TC ’14
  • Treasurer: Emanuel Feld, SM ’13
  • Membership Coordinator: Julie Botnick, BR ’14
  • Events Coordinator: Max Kushner-Lenhoff, ES ’12
  • 2010-2011
  • Co-chairs: Veronica Gordon, CC ’11; Cody Hooks, TC ’13; Kassie Urban-Meade, ES ’14
  • 2009-2010
  • Co-chairs: Matthew Ramlow, DC ’11; Rachel Shaffer, BR ’12; Lily Twining, PC ’11
  • 2008-2009
  • Co-chairs: Julia Lurie, BR ’12; Ariel Patashnik ’09; Charles Zhu, ’11
  • 2007-2008
  • Co-chairs: Kevin Currey, SY ’09; Valerie Gordon, SY ’09; Julia Meisel, BR ’10
  • 2006-2007
  • Co-chairs: Katherine Gasner, SY ’09; Elizabeth Kelley-Swift, MC ’09; Micah Ziegler, PC ’08
  • 2005-2006
  • Co-chairs: Emily Biesecker, SM ’08; Caroline Howe, SY ’07; David Tracey, TC ’08
  • 2004-2005
  • Co-chairs: Mila Dunbar-Irwin, MC ’08; Carlos Poza, PC ’06; Teresa Tapia, PC ’06
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The year’s almost over, and YSEC is looking for a new board! There are four positions open: president, vice president, treasurer, and events coordinator. If you have any questions as to what these roles entail, please email any of the current board members.

Here’s the application:  2013 Board Application

Email your completed applications to kathryn.culhane@yale.edu. Applications are due on Wednesday (April 24, 2013).

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Fossil Free Yale

fossil free yale

You’ve heard of the divestment movement. Bill McKibben sparked the conversation about responsible endowments this summer with his article in the Rolling Stone. Since then, countless other articles about it have been published in the New York TimesHuff Post, the Nation and our very own YDN. Even Harvard has developed a robust campaign.

Now the students of Yale are stepping up. Help us become leaders in the national campaign for sustainable endowment investments.

SIGN THE PETITION at fossilfreeyale.org.

And like the Facebook page while you’re at it: www.facebook.com/FossilFreeYale

If you’re on campus, attend the huge kick-off event for Fossil Free Yale on Saturday, February 2 at 4:00pm in LC 211.

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A Chance to Dine with a founder of YSEC

Dinner in Branford College Dining Hall, Monday, 11/5/12, 6 p.m. with Florence Williams

YSEC is invited to join Florence Williams, founder of YSEC, for dinner in Branford, either in the small dining room just beyond the fireplace at the far end of the dining hall or perhaps at a table near the fireplace.  This will be a fun chance to hear about the early days of the Yale Student Environmental Coalition and about the modern work of an environmental writer. Acclaimed popular science writer and Yale Fellow, Carl Zimmer, plans to be in attendance as well.

If anyone wants to look at some articles by Florence William, a collection is at <http://www.florencewilliams.com/article>, and here are three for easy reference:

Florence Williams, “How a Bunch of Scrappy Marines Could Help Vanquish Breast Cancer,” Mother Jones, May/June 2012, available at <http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2012/05/camp-lejeune-marines-breast-cancer-florence-williams?page=1>;

Florence Williams, “A Mighty Wind,” Outside , January 2007, available at <http://www.outsideonline.com/adventure-travel/A-Mighty-Wind.html>;

Florence Williams, “Toxic Breast Milk?” New York Times Magazine, January 9, 2005, via <http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/09/magazine/09TOXIC.html>.

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Fracking Debate at Yale Inspires Students to Face up to the Fossil Fuel Industry

By Ariana Shapiro:

People are catching on to the debate over fracking in New York State. They are catching on so much so that over 200 of them were crammed into Burke Auditorium in Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; in Connecticut, a state significantly removed from projected drilling and wastewater disposal sites. People crowded the aisles, sat on windowsills, and leaned against walls. A live stream was made available for hundreds of others, and is still available online.

The debate was broadly titled “Hydraulic Fracturing: Bridge to a Clean Energy Future?”, but upstate New York was clearly the main region of discussion. On one side was Bill McKibben of 350.org, who pushed the environment/climate argument against fracking, while recognizing that other arguments abound. His opponent, former Shell Energy president John Hofmeister, conceded that fracking is dirty but necessary and the highly complex practice (which he compared to heart surgery) is being improved continually. In the middle of the spectrum were Sheila Olmstead, a fellow at Resources for the Future, and James Saiers, a professor of hydrology and chemical engineering at the Yale Engineering School. Their arguments at times leaned towards McKibben’s, by acknowledging the health and social impacts of fracking, but never far enough to admit that fracking is inherently unsafe and therefore unviable. Saiers predicted that the moratorium will be lifted in New York and fracking will hit the state.

A couple lively exchanges of rhetoric between McKibben and Hofmeister roused the audience. In response to the title question, the former Shell exec said that hydrofracking is not a bridge, but  “a highway to the future”. McKibben eloquently capitalized on that statement retorting: “hydrofracking is a rickety pier out into the lake of hydrocarbons”.

Later on, Hofmeister gave an impassioned speech condemning private campaign donations and declaring that Shell never has and never will contribute to political campaigns. He got an impressive round of applause from the audience, but his smugness disappeared when McKibben pointedly asked if Shell is a member of the Chamber of Commerce. “I don’t know”, Hofmeister responded after an awkward pause, “We were when I was president.” McKibben went on to explain that the Chamber of Commerce is the largest lobbying group in Congress.

Having watched Bill speak many times before, I couldn’t help but pick up on a melancholy tone in his voice. He’s been saying the same things since 1989 – that we need to start acting soon on the climate crisis because the consequences will be extreme – and twenty-three years later, with the evidence of climate change affronting us every day, we’re still battling bureaucrats and plutocrats in basic defense of the planet. In Albany, Governor Cuomo has been trying hard to show he’ll follow the path of money, repeatedly refusing over the last four years to listen to the demands of a significant percentage of New York residents who oppose hydrofracking. However, with increasingly frequent and innovative actions against fracking, like Don’t Frack New York and a shutdown of Schlumberger in August, we’re finally seeing a change in Cuomo. Today, the New York Times reports that the fracking process in New York will likely be delayed another year, until the completion of another review, including a public comment period.

This is huge news for the movement.

Bill McKibben needn’t be quite so grim. The news is looking up, and though we haven’t won yet, we can be grateful for the vibrant spirit of solidarity present on campus after the panel and a speech Bill gave later that evening calling for divestment from the fossil fuel industry. He inspired and enlightened a diverse cross-section of the Yale student body, convincing me that whether or not we are resting on the Marcellus shale, college students across the United States are getting fired up and ready to face up to the fossil fuel industry in all its manifestations. We won’t stop until they stop.

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The summer has come and gone, and we’re already two weeks into classes…so it’s the perfect time to create some change on campus! YSEC has some very exciting projects in the works for this year, ranging from divestment to reusable to-go containers. Come to general meetings and get involved in project groups to learn more about the upcoming action.

Upcoming events:

General Meeting –  Tuesday, Sept. 11; 8pm-9pm

Our last meeting seemed a little…tedious. So during  this meeting we’ll be mixing it up with some games and an episode of the Simpsons (guess which one), followed by a friendly discussion and snacks (no nuts this time). Come to the Dwight Hall Library on Old Campus.

Farm Volunteering – Friday, Sept 14; 1pm-6pm

Have you made it to the Farm yet? Do you know what/where the Farm is? (Hint: it’s on Yale’s campus.) We don’t care what your answer to those questions are, because either way you should come volunteer with YSEC. We’ll be working from 1pm to 5pm (come whenever you can), and then eating delicious pizza (fresh from the oven!) from 5pm to 6pm. Here are directions to the farm: directions (scroll to the bottom of the page). Please RSVP to Justine (justine.appel@yale.edu), but feel free to show up without notice! Also, email anyone on the Board if you want to walk/bike/shuttle/cartwheel to the Farm with someone.

Green Drinks – Friday, Sept. 14; 9:30pm-11:00ish

Come chill with your favorite tree-huggers. Beverages may or may not be strangely hued. Davenport, Suite B32 (call Kat at 360-529-9052 to be let in).









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