Environmental activist chosen as a Lincoln student laureateBy Josh Schonwald
Fourth-year Craig Segall, a leading activist in campus environmental and human rights groups, was one of 50 top college seniors to be named a 2003 Lincoln student laureate by the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.
The Lincoln Academy’s student laureate award honors one student from each four-year institution in Illinois for overall excellence in academic and extracurricular activities. Established nearly 40 years ago, the Springfield-based Lincoln Academy not only honors Illinois’ most accomplished students, but also honors distinguished citizens with the order of Lincoln, the states’ equivalent of the Nobel Peace prize.
Segall was unable to attend the formal ceremony in Springfield, at which Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich presented laureates with their medallions. Instead, President Randel presented Segall with his medal in a private ceremony.
Like each of the University’s laureates, Segall was chosen by the Office of the Dean of Students. In its annual process, advisers in the College nominate students who are high achievers academically (Dean’s list or better) and who excel in their extracurricular lives, demonstrating leadership ability. Ultimately, Susan Art, Dean of Students in the College, and David Owen, Health Professions Adviser in the College, deliberate over the finalists and a pick a laureate.
“It’s a great honor,” said Segall, “because so many people at this University are deeply dedicated to both public service and academics.”
A dual concentrator in Biology and Environmental Studies, who was a teaching assistant in Core Biology last year and is currently a teaching assistant in Biodiversity, Segall has been interested in ecological research since his first year at Chicago.
During the past two summers, Segall has conducted field research in the mountains near Crested Butte, Colo., as part of a project based at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, which aims to gauge the impact of global climate change on high altitude ecosystems.
Segall also has been active in environmental groups at the University. He is one of the coordinators of the Environmental Concerns Organization and the Green Campus Initiative, and last April, he helped organize campus events to celebrate Earth Day.
In addition to his environmental activism, Segall has been active in Habitat for Humanity, has worked as an assistant classroom teacher in the Center for School Improvement’s Neighborhood Schools Program, and has been a one-on-one tutor in the adult literacy program at the Blue Gargoyle. Segall also went to South Africa on a delegation sponsored by the Human Rights Program, and he and other delegation members raised $1,000 to sponsor the education of a South African, preschool-aged orphan for a year.
Most recently Segall has joined an advisory committee, which comprises students, faculty and staff, on the University’s institutional policy for expressing political opinions.
Segall said he hopes to combine his interests in environmental science and human rights while attending law school. He is particularly interested in dual degree programs that would enable him to pursue a law degree and a master’s degree in ecology concurrently.