Stegner Center Student Opportunities
For students interested in environmental and natural resource legal education, there is no better place than the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. The College has one of the top-rated environmental law centers in the Western United States. In addition to the degree programs for the Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law, or the Master of Laws in Environmental and Resource Law (LLM) degree, the College provides support for students and a variety of opportunities.
Students come first at the Stegner Center, with numerous scholarships ranging from writing awards to full-tuition scholarships with employment upon graduation. The Center also sponsors various student activities, including professional conferences and social gatherings, and annually sends teams to the Pace Environmental Law Moot Court Competition and the National Energy and Sustainability Moot Court Competition at West Virginia University (WVU), where Stegner Center teams are very competitive and regularly reach the quarter-final and semi-final rounds. The Stegner Center’s 2021 team for the National Energy and Sustainability Moot Court Competition won first place.
Relevant Program and Speakers
At the Stegner Center, you can delve into environmental law through the Center’s annual symposium, which brings together legal scholars and thinkers from around the world to tackle pressing environmental issues. Recent symposia have focused on wildlife conservation, alternative energy, global climate change, and sustainability.
The Stegner Center convenes a bi-weekly, noon-hour Green Bag Lecture Series, providing students with the opportunity to meet top scholars, policy makers, and community leaders working on the environmental challenges that define our times. Past speakers have addressed such diverse topics as air quality along the Wasatch Front, population growth and sustainability, the politics and science of climate change, nuclear waste and Utah’s West Desert, Utah’s energy future, and the Snake River Valley-Las Vegas water transfer proposal.
The Center has also hosted numerous luminaries, including Bruce Babbitt, Wendell Berry, Helen Caldicott, Patty Limerick, Pamela Matson, Bill McKibben, Pat Mulroy, Naomi Oreskes, Zygmunt Plater, Joe Sax, Lynn Scarlett, George Schaller, Michael Soule, Alan Weisman, Charles Wilkinson, and Terry Tempest Williams, among others.
Students may work with the Center’s Law & Policy Program on directed research projects with faculty members and research fellows. Students may have opportunities to work with the Environmental Dispute Resolution Program, which promotes collaboration, mediation, and other dispute resolution processes as a means to address contemporary environmental conflicts. Students may also have opportunities to be involved with the Environmental Justice Clinic which partners with low-income communities and communities of color to challenge the inequitable distribution of environmental burdens and benefits and ensure meaningful participation in environmental decision-making. Students enrolled in the clinic use a range of tools and an interdisciplinary approach to advance environmental justice. Finally, there are opportunities for Environmental Law Externships.
Natural Resources Law Forum
The Natural Resources Law Forum (NRLF) student group is open to all S. J. Quinney students who share common interests in environmental law and responsible outdoor recreation. NRLF coordinates educational activities to serve the community and facilitate contact with leaders in the field of natural resources law. NRLF also sponsors social and volunteer activities such as tree planting, hikes, and cleanup of trails and rivers.
My SJQ Story
One of the main reasons I am pursing a JD with the S.J. Quinney College of Law is because of the Wallace Stegner Center. Before even applying to the JD program, I attended the Stegner Center’s Green Bag events to become engaged as an environmental practitioner. Now as a student, I attend the Stegner Center events to continue to stay engaged. The events offer timely and inspiring speakers and topics—providing students like myself with unbeatable access to research opportunities, professional networking, and creative, multi-disciplinary thinking. By design, the Stegner Center is a huge part of my top-class curriculum and academic growth.
—Kathryn Tipple, ’14