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Daniel Zazueta, Law Student

Monday, Jul. 6, 2009

Daniel (standing, far right) and other members of the Environmental Law Society at Yosemite.Daniel Zazueta credits his various international experiences as the primary influences which led him to his decision to study international environmental law at Santa Clara University. While studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina during his undergraduate years at UC Berkeley, he conducted an air quality project in the city, which he says first piqued his interest in the environment. After graduating from Berkeley in 2000 with a degree in Latin American-U.S. relations, he spent several years teaching high school Spanish in the Bay Area, where he was born and raised. After this, he lived in Brazil and Mexico City where he taught English, and also worked for a travel company leading students on trips to South America. Seeing these places, Daniel says, made him realize how low of a priority caring for the environment was for those who lived in them, as compared to feeding and sheltering their families. He was determined, then, to be the environmental advocate for those whose limited educational and financial standings prevented them from living sustainably.

Since entering law school at Santa Clara in 2007, Daniel has taken an active role in both the law school and the university’s sustainability efforts. This past academic year, he served as President of the International Law Society and the Environmental Law Society, in addition to serving on the Student Bar Association. The Environmental Law Society (ELS) is one of the law school’s oldest student groups, formed in the 1970s. Its mission is to educate its members by networking with other environmental law professionals and bringing speakers, so that they may better serve the community when they graduate from law school. Some of these speakers included experts on some of the propositions which were on the ballot in November, such as Proposition 1, the approved high-speed rail through California. Members of ELS have also enjoyed camping and hiking trips, as well as trips to the coast to clean-up beaches.

As co-president, along with Caitlin Robinett, Daniel and his fellow group members have pushed to make the group more active in the University and larger community. As he and his colleagues hope to expand the role the Environmental Law Society will play in the SCU community, Daniel identified stronger collective action in the school’s recycling program and the sustainable procurement of goods as two areas he would like to see improved. He would also like to see the Environmental Law Society put a greater focus on environmental justice issues. Currently, Daniel is working for the Santa Clara County Counsel’s Office in the impact litigation department where he is looking at climate change and if and how it affects interests within the county. As Daniel looks forward to graduating from law school in 2010 and pursuing a career as an environmental lawyer, he will continue to focus on issues of water rights and climate change. Furthermore, he is well on his way to establishing a strong, active Environmental Law Society which will endure after his graduation and enhance the University’s sustainability efforts.

Daniel (standing, far right) and other members of the Environmental Law Society at Yosemite.
Daniel (standing, far right) and other members of the Environmental Law Society at Yosemite.

Tags: Profiles, SCU Alumni, Student Life



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