Clara Muggli, a Lawrence senior majoring in Environmental Studies, was among the 80 nationwide recipients of the Morris K. Udall Scholarship. The scholarship is funded by the Morris K. Udall Foundation and awarded to undergraduate sophomores and juniors studying Environmental Science and related subjects, as well as to Native Americans and Alaska natives who study tribal policy or health. Congress established the foundation in 1992 to honor the more than 30 years Morris Udall spent in service to the House of Representatives.Udall’s life was an example of varied interests. He spent his life not only in public service as one of the congressional representatives for Arizona, but also played professional basketball with the Denver Nuggets, got his pilot’s license, and campaigned in the 1976 Democratic presidential nomination. But throughout his life he continually pushed for legislation regarding environmental protection and public policy protecting Native Americans and their rights.
Among the major works of his life was the Alaska Lands Act of 1980, an important legislative act involving the increase of nationally protected land. The Morris K. Udall Foundation encourages and educates a new generation of students to follow in Udall’s footsteps.
As one of the requirements of the scholarship, all 80 recipients attended the Udall Scholars orientation in Tucson, Arizona, where they spent time in various lectures and networking groups.
“For me personally, it was very exciting to be around that many active people. It was inspiring to hear about their individual projects,” said Muggli.
“There was such a mix of people there. Everyone had their own special interests, from encouraging the use of wind energy, to researching and nature writing, to planning protests.” Regardless of their specific focus, all of the recipients got the chance to use the orientation as an educational experience that encourages responsible science and civic responsibility.
Clara Muggli has spent her years at Lawrence trying to make the students and administration aware of “Lawrence’s own environmental footprint.” Since her freshman year she has been a member of Greenfire, the on-campus student organization dedicated to the awareness of environmental issues. She is currently co-president of the organization.
Muggli stays active in the various groups that plan for environmental improvement on campus. Her groups look at possible ways that Lawrence can change, including using organic food and fair-trade coffee. She specializes in sustainable agriculture. She has worked toward educating youths about land ethics and organic farming through the Heifer Project while working as a camp counselor for an organic ranch in Arkansas.
“Honestly, I see the environment coming to the forefront of social issues, so the scholarship is very important in encouraging the students not only to be active in campus communities now, but to make a life-long commitment to the environmental movement,” said Muggli. She hopes to eventually have her own organic farm and work to encourage sustainable living by remaining active with environmental groups. The scholarship of $5000 will go toward her tuition fund and living expenses this year.
If you are interested in more information on this scholarship go to www.udall.gov or contact the faculty nominating representative for the Udall Foundation, Anthony Hoch.