Who we are:

The Environmental Law Club at the University of Victoria is comprised of law students from all years of law school. Our mission is to promote awareness of environmental sustainability and conservation issues to the student body and general public. The elected Executive members of the Club serve as 50% of the Board of Directors of the ELC Society.

What have we been up to:

Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC):

Each year, the Club sends a cohort of students down to Eugene, Oregon, to participate in the oldest environmental law conference in the world, which hosts over 3,000 attendees each year. The conference provides students with the invaluable experience of connecting with other like-minded students, professors and lawyers from around the world, and to learn of the latest developments in the growing field of public interest environmental law.

Speaking events:

The Club hosts many speaking events focusing on current environmental issues. Past speakers have included John Borrows and Andrew Nikoforuk.

Film screenings:

The Club also hosts film screenings of documentaries that educate the law school and public on environmental issues. A recent screening outlined the concerns with the proposed Site C dam in Northern BC.

Participation events:

The Club is active in the law school and hosts at least one “bike to school” week per year, which seeks to educate and reward students who bike or walk to school.

Other events:

The Club also supports opportunities for students to hone their legal skills, be it through our participating in the annual Environmental Law Negotiation Competition at UBC, or having a team in West Coast Environmental Law’s Twitter Moot.

How can you get involved:

Keep up to date on our events by following us on Facebook.

Club Executive Members 2019-20

Shawna Smith, President

Shawna grew up in Aamjiwnaang territory (near Sarnia, Ontario) and now finds herself in her second year of law school. She has been living north of 60 for the past four years, dedicated to issues where environmental justice and indigenous rights intersect. Before moving to Victoria she was President of the Yukon Conservation Society (YCS), supporting the Protect the Peel campaign surrounding the First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun v. Yukon SCC case. After working with Taku River Tlingit First Nation in Aitlin, British Columbia, to write down traditional laws on how to build and maintain healthy relationships with the land, she was inspired to apply for the new Joint Degree Program in Canadian Common Law and Indigenous Legal Orders to continue to build her tools to better support indigenous law revitalization. Shawna loves to learn about and build relationships with the land by getting out climbing, hiking, trail running and canoeing with her furry friend Jules. In addition to participating in the Club, Shawna sits on the ELCS Board of Directors.

Alexandra Powell, Vice President

Alexandra is a second year student at UVic. Born and raised in Vancouver, she developed a love for the natural world and spending time outdoors. This led her to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Political Science at UVic. Her coursework inspired her to pursue a career dedicated to social and environmental justice. Alexandra likes to volunteer with ecological restoration projects and spend time hiking and camping with family and friends.

Will Kendon, Treasurer

Will is a third year law student at the University of Victoria and an avid admirer of nature. He has a background in environmental science and technology, and a keen interest in protecting sensitive ecosystems and finding ways for society to live more sustainably within them. Will grew up on the West Coast and has endeavoured to explore the rugged beauty of this place he calls home— one backpacking, camping or kayaking trip at a time. Despite pursuing a career in law and foregoing field work for a desk job, Will remains encouraged and motivated by the necessary environmental legal work to be done and by organizations like the ELC who are doing it. In addition to participating in the Club, Will sits on the ELCS Board of Directors.

Christina Joynt, External Communications

Christina is a second year student at the University of Victoria. Prior to entering law school, Christina received her MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management (WSPM) at the University of Oxford. Her master’s dissertation focused on the environmental assessment process in Ontario and how it can be improved from a multi-stakeholder perspective. Bringing her interest in water governance abroad, she has spent the last few summers working for The SAM Project as the Assistant Director of Water and Irrigation Programs in Zambia. Christina’s passion for the environment, and particularly water, extends beyond academics and she enjoys skiing, kayaking and hiking. In addition to participating in the Club, Christina sits on the ELCS Board of Directors.

Courtenay Jacklin, Internal Communications

Courtenay was born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan, and completed her undergraduate degree in biology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. While at Queen’s, she was a member of the Kingston Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology and of Queen’s Backing Against Climate Change. She spent two summers working as a field research assistant in a biogeography lab, studying vegetation dynamics in subarctic North America. Based out of the Kluane Lake Research Station, her experience as a field assistant inspired the theme of her undergraduate thesis, which focused on how land development adjacent to Kluane National Park and Reserve impacts critical wildlife habitat within the park. Courtenay was drawn to UVic Law by the possibility to explore her interests in environmental policy and conservation biology.

Andrew Spear, Project & Events Coordinator

Tyler Struyk, Upper Year Rep

Amanda Vick, ILSA Rep