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Young Udalls encourage students to fight for environmental protection

By La Monica Everett-Haynes
Arizona Summer Wildcat
August 9, 1999
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Arizona Summer Wildcat

Arizona Summer Wildcat

U.S. Reps. Tom and Mark Udall, nephew and son of the late UA legend Morris K. Udall, led a panel discussion about the country's environmental policy with nearly 80 recipients of the elder statesman's scholarship foundation.

Tom Udall (D-Colo.) and Mark Udall (D-N.M.) visited the University of Arizona's Center for Creative Photography to discuss their first year in the U.S. House of Representatives, as part of the two-day scholarship orientation program.

Tom Udall is the son of former Interior Secretary Stewart Udall, also a UA alum.

"We wanted the students to learn more about Mo Udall and tried to present a panel, or more of a topical conversation, with scholars from all over the United States," program assistant Lara White said.

The recipients of the Morris K. Udall Foundation scholarship pressed the representatives with questions concerning issues such as environmental protection.

"This is about sustainability and how we interact with one another," Mark Udall said. "I haven't inherited the earth from my parents, I am borrowing it from my children."

The conference provided the recipients a chance to voice their opinions and concerns about problems within society and targeted areas throughout the United States.

Congress created the scholarship in 1992 in honor of Mo Udall, who was UA student body president and a letterman in basketball before going on to serve 30 years in Congress. Udall died last year from complications of Parkinson's disease.

The scholarship is awarded to students who are active in dealing with environmental issues.

Najeema Washington, a senior at Spelman College in Atlanta, challenged Mark Udall to tackle the problem of toxic air emissions on Native American reservations and particularly in minority communities.

"I would like to expand my knowledge to Representative Mark Udall and to Native American communities about the injustices that are being committed against the reservations," Washington said, adding that she wants to work with Udall to remove the racial gap and help minority groups find justice.

The Udalls also encouraged the students to pursue excellence and take control of the situations in their communities.

"You need to put your mind to it, do the job. It is a responsive political system," Tom Udall said. "There is polling on all of these issues but the Congress does not help with issues like health insurance and gun control."

Some students were satisfied with the outcome of the panel discussions, while others were not sure if the new Udalls will be able to follow through with their challenges to Congress.

"They were great but there are a lot of limitations," said Will Durbin, a junior at Yale University. "They are good for their category but their category is lousy."

La Monica Everett-Haynes can be reached at city@wildcat.arizona.edu