Learning From Our Students, Pt. 1 – Think Big, Think Smart, Make Change

Last week I had the privilege of attending a presentation by two amazing ’10 UW Law graduates who founded The Three Degrees Project to address climate justice issues accompanying global climate change.    Jeni Barcelos and Jen Marlow (fondly known as “the Jens”) are every teacher’s  (and every social justice advocate’s) dream — smart, motivated, hardworking, visionary, persistent, endlessly resourceful, and, on top of all that, charming.

All very well.  You may ask, however, what do two young climate justice visionaries have to do with Best Practices in Legal Education?

The Jens’ presentation reinforced for me three lessons — lessons that we know, but may be prone to forget at times.  I’ll discuss the first in this blog, and defer the two others to later posts.

Lesson 1:  Think Big, Think Smart, Make Change.

Transforming legal education is a tall order.  No big news there.  Often enough I feel overwhelmed by the task and doubt whether my individual voice matters.   But it’s a small task by comparison with tackling climate justice on a global scale.  The Jens’ example reminds me that it’s the task that matters, not my own doubts or insecurities.  It’s good to think big.

The Jens not only think big, they think smart.  Amazing connectors, they pull together ideas and disciplines to create a comprehensive intellectual framework with the data to support it.   Using that framework, they reach out tirelessly to collaborators around the world.  And step by step, they move forward.  Isn’t that a lot like what we’re trying to do with Best Practices and related efforts to transform legal education?

2 Responses

  1. It’s inspiring that two new grads are tackling such an overwhelming issue. And it sounds like they’re smart enough to enlist allies, instead of taking on the system alone. Thanks for the post (and the analogy), Debbie. Maybe keeping the excitement of the “big” goal in mind will sustain their/our efforts at accomplishing change, especially when it feels rather glacial in speed.

  2. […] blog posts will run in three installments. Here’s the […]

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