Fall 2009 alumna and Grinnell College sophomore, Liza Morse, has been a leader affecting change both in classes as a biology and Spanish major, and in her extra-curricular activities. As a first year at Grinnell last year year she received a stipend for being the on-campus advocate for the organization Food & Water Watch. She also was elected Chairperson of the Student Environmental Committee for this year. In addition, this past summer she worked for the American Bird Conservancy in Washington, DC.

As part of Food and Water Watch, Liza acted as the Campus Coordinator for their Take Back the Tap Campaign, which aims to eliminate bottled water from campuses and encourage reusable water bottles, as well as to educate the student body regarding water issues (water privatization, fracking, etc.). You can read more about the campaign here!

As the Chair of the Student Environmental Committee this year, Liza has been running weekly meetings where the committee plans on-campus events for students and discuss environmental issues. One of the projects they are focusing on right now is a fundraiser for the construction of 3 wind turbines, a project that was approved last year by Grinnell’s Board of Trustees, but only after a significant petitioning campaign run by the Student Environmental Committee. As Chair, Liza is also helping to bring in at least 1 guest speaker per semester. Another one of their projects is a letter writing campaign to Iowa state government officials urging them to reconsider legislation regarding Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in the state.

As an intern at American Bird Conservancy in Washington, DC this summer, Liza worked mostly on educational materials that raises awareness for the Alliance for Zero Extinction. The Alliance for Zero Extinction is a alliance among non-profit organizations devoted to wildlife conservation. The Alliance does is uses certain criteria to identify sites around the world in need of immediate protection. Most of Liza’s work focused on an online voting campaign called “Alliance for Zero Extinction’s Seven Wonders” which allows people on Facebook to vote for their favorite bird sites and learn about endangered species located there.  Liza would track down photos and get permission from photographers for those photos. The site is aimed at raising awareness about key species in expectation of the 2012 Convention on Biological Diversity. You can check out the Facebook page here!

Congratulations on all your successes, Liza, and keep it up!