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Founded in 1994, the Center’s academic program in environmental and natural resources law is ranked in the top 20 programs nationally. The Center has reached beyond the traditional confines of a law school through its diverse educational programs, including its annual symposium, green bag noon-hour lecture series, and evening programs, which are offered to the general public. Through these programs, the Center has brought national and local experts in a variety of fields, including law, science, and public policy, to the community. The Center programs have become an important forum regionally and nationally for promoting public dialogue about how best to meet the environmental challenges of our time. With an extraordinary five-year, $762,000 grant from the Alternative Visions Fund of the Chicago Community Trust, the Center has expanded its mission to promote collaboration, mediation, and other dispute resolution processes as a means to address contemporary environmental conflicts through a new Environmental Dispute Resolution (EDR) Program. EDR processes help parties to engage in a rational discussion, overcome communication obstacles, and fashion potential solutions that result in better environmental protections and more effective practices, while avoiding costly litigation and ongoing conflicts. The Stegner Center’s EDR Program, which began operation in mid February 2012 under the leadership of Michele Straube, is unique among the College of Law’s peer institutions and is proving to be a valuable asset regionally and nationally.

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