Among the 867 registered student organizations (RSOs) at the University of Washington, and the 44,786 students now roaming around campus, it can be both difficult and overwhelming for students to chart a path through the many options. In the field of environmental sciences, particularly, it can be very easy to become absorbed in the Pacific Northwest and our native species, and to lose track of our shared problems and practices with the rest of the globe. Miku Lenentine and Rachel Roberts, graduate students at SEFS, recognized a gap in our student groups last year and began working to fill it through forming the first UW chapter of the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA).
Today, in its second full year as an RSO, IFSA is filled with excitement and the possibilities to connect the UW community and the world through forestry. After sending two delegates to the International Forestry Students’ Symposium (IFSS) in the Philippines this summer (a separate story on our adventures coming soon), we are better equipped to serve the UW community and bring the ‘IFSA spirit’ to our campus.
IFSA is a nonprofit organization that, first and foremost, is an international network of forestry and environmental science students. Through this active network, we share study and job opportunities abroad, along with information about varying environmental management practices for greater awareness. IFSA also works to bring students together through both casual and formal meetings, serving to represent youth in international forestry processes. We send delegations of students to important events through our partnerships with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UN Forum on Forest, UN Convention on Biological Diversity, and others. We are sending delegations to COP 12 in Paris this fall and even have a few UW members selected to attend the Global Landscapes Forum during COP! Rather than passively attending, as well, IFSA often works to organize side events at to provide students with more opportunities to lead, speak and share their insights.
To inform our fellow students about these opportunities for the SEFS community, we (the UW Local Committee) are holding our first “Welcome Meeting” on Thursday, October 15, at 4:30 p.m. in the Forest Club Room. This meeting is a perfect opportunity for all who want to get involved to learn more. We will have refreshments and boundless enthusiasm about the fun we can have together in this next year. If I have learned one thing from being an IFSA member, it is that when we students come together for a greater purpose, we are incredibly powerful!
Hope to see you soon!
VP of Public Relations – IFSA UW
Head of International Processes Commission – IFSA World