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University of Iowa News Release

 

April 14, 2009

Photo: University of Iowa student Chris Page visited Emei Shan, a mountain that was deserted in Sichuan Province in China, because of the catastrophic earthquake in May 2008. Page is a recipient of a prestigious $5,000 Udall Scholarship because of his commitment to pursuing a career related to the environment.

UI student wins Udall Scholarship for environmental contributions

When University of Iowa student Chris Page arrived in Chengdu, China, for Chinese language study two days after a devastating earthquake hit in May 2008, he quickly learned the importance of responsible environmental policy.

Months before the earthquake, the Chinese government unknowingly disrupted the region's seismic activity, Page said, when it dammed the Yangtze River for the Three Gorges Project, for hydroelectricity.

"The loss of more than 20,000 Sichuanese residents during the earthquake was an unacceptable consequence of the use of hydroelectricity," said Page, who has won a $5,000 Udall Scholarship. "As an environmental policy-maker, I will always remember the earthquake in Sichuan as an important reason to advocate for environmental policy that puts human health and safety above economic growth."

Page, a UI sophomore from Iowa City who hopes to pursue a career in environmental policy, is one of 80 of the nation's top sophomores and juniors who received the prestigious award in 2009. Recipients must demonstrate a commitment to careers related to the environment, be Native American and Alaska Native students who have demonstrated commitment to careers in tribal public policy, or be Native American and Alaska Native students who have demonstrated a commitment to careers related to native health care.

Udall Scholars also attend a five-day event in Tucson, Ariz. in August to meet other scholars, policymakers and community leaders in these fields.

Page, who is majoring in political science, environmental studies and Chinese in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), hopes to specialize in energy and environmental policy in his future career.

His commitment to this issue is not new, he said, adding he first became interested in environmental issues while talking with his dad about global warming when he was very young.

Since then, his commitment has grown stronger. Page also rallied eight other UI students to accompany him to Washington, D.C. in early March to push for federal laws to better protect the environment as part of Power Shift, an event that drew people from across the country to take a message of bold, comprehensive and immediate federal climate action to Capitol Hill.

He has been a researcher and volunteer for the UI Environmental Coalition and has interned at the Women's Environmental Institute with Minnesota State Rep. Karen Clark. In an excerpt from his application for the Udall Scholarship, he describes driving around with Clark, who described the environmental conditions that residents of Minneapolis' poorest neighborhood endure daily.

"Rep. Clark crafted a bill that would prevent any more industrial projects from entering the community without a 'cumulative health impact analysis' completed," Page said. "Since the bill's passage, three projects that would have further degraded air quality in the Phillips Neighborhood have been stopped. Clark's law, one of a kind, is the type of legislation that I will work to enact federally."

Page is also involved with UI's Sustainability Advisory Committee, the National Youth Council, and the UI Honors Program. He enjoys volunteering with Local Food Connection, playing the piano at nursing homes, and listening to Kanye West on his way to classes.

The Morris K. Udall Foundation was authorized by Congress in 1992 to honor Congressman Udall's legacy of public service. The foundation is supported by a trust fund in the U.S. Treasury and contributions from the private sector.

Udall served in the U.S. House of Representatives for three decades, a career distinguished by civility, integrity and consensus. He championed the rights of Native Americans and Alaska natives, using his leadership in congress to strengthen tribal self-governance and national environmental policy.

For a complete listing of the 2009 Udall Scholars or for more information on the Morris Udall Foundation see http://www.udall.gov/OurPrograms/MKUScholarship/MKUScholarship.aspx.

For more information on the UI Honors Program visit http://honors.uiowa.edu.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Andrea Beloy, UI Honors Program, 319-335-1874; Lois J. Gray, University News Service, 319-384-0077, lois-gray@uiowa.edu