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Northwestern Students for a Better Environment



During the summer of 1969 a small group of Northwestern University students and faculty met to discuss the problem of water pollution affecting Lake Michigan. After only one meeting, this group, which was called "Northwestern Students for a Better Environment" expanded to include other concerned students, faculty and area citizens. On January 23, 1970 NSBE mobilized the nation's first large-scale environmental symposium, held at Northwestern's Technological Institute. Called Project Survival, the event featured distinguished speakers, entertainment, and an all night "teach-out" on the environment. Thousands of people attended presentations by Paul Simon, Lieutenant Governor of the state of Illinois, William J. Scott, Illinois Attorney General, Illinois Treasurer Adlai Stevenson III, Barry Commoner, Paul Ehrlich, and other professors of science, law and politics. Folksinger Tom Paxton composed and first performed the song Whose Garden was this? at the event. In April 21 and 22, 1978 NSBE organized and sponsored "Sunrise '78," a two-day program of activities pertaining to solar energy and alternative energy sources. The program was open to the public and took place in and around Norris Center on the Northwestern campus. Radio station WNUR featured special programming on solar energy, including music, guest speakers and public service announcements. Many participants camped at night on the University's lakefill. In the following years the NSBE was active in "Earth Day" and other environmentally oriented events. The organization sponsored meetings, lectures and workshops relating to topics like overpopulation and nuclear energy as well as on specific environmental biomes. NSBE was politically active and promoted environmental legislation, like the outlawing of phosphate detergent. The NSBE was re-named Students for Ecological and Environmental Development (SEED) in the 1990s and remained an active student group which continued to further the environmental movement at Northwestern.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Northwestern Students for a Better Environment

Identifier: 31/6/100

The Northwestern Students for a Better Environment records cover the activities of a group of students and faculty at Northwestern University to gain regional and national attention in their fight against pollution. The collection contains mainly flyers and posters, press releases, publications, clippings, and materials on the "Project Survival", "Earth Day" and "Sun Week." The collection spans the years from 1969 through 2010.

Dates: 1969 - 2010; Other: Majority of material found within 1969 - 1978; Other: Date acquired: 02/07/1979