Youth Activism, Then and Now: Student activists from several generations on youth activism and environmental justice

Event Date: 
Wednesday, March 11, 2020, 4:00 pm

Dana Building, room 1040

This afternoon’s first panel, Youth Activism, Then and Now: Student activists from several generations on youth activism and environmental justice (today starting at 4:00 p.m. ) will be live-streamed instead of being an in-person event, which can be accessed here. Tonight’s panel, Environmental Action for Survival: The History and Legacies of U-M's 1970 Teach-In on the Environment, will also be live-streamed starting at 5:15 p.m. at

An informal dialogue with student activists from the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s.  Panelists will discuss strategies used to change institutions, the centrality of environmental justice in organizing, and how things have changed through the years. 


George Coling
Occupational health and environmental justice advocate, Former Executive Director, National Fuel Funds Network.  George enrolled in the University of Michigan School of Public Health in the fall of 1969 after obtaining a Biology degree from the University of Rochester. He soon became involved in ENACT, the campus student group organizing events for the March 1970 Environmental Teach-In. After the Teach-In, he was one of the founders of the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor and then moved to Washington to work for Environmental Resources, the affiliate of Environmental Action, which organized Earth Day nationally. George worked in Washington until 2015, when he and his wife, Marcia Coling, moved to Western Massachusetts. George and Marcia have two sons and two grandchildren. In those years in Washington, George worked for the national organization of ecology centers, the American Public Health Association; the Urban Environment Conference, Inc.; Rural Coalition; Environmental Defense Fund and Sierra Club. Much of his work focused on the issues of occupational health and of environmental justice and on building grassroots networks to address these issues. He also did consulting for numerous environmental, community and labor organizations. From 1997 until his 2012 retirement, George was Executive Director of the National Fuel Funds Network, an organization of privately-funded energy assistance programs and an advocate for increased federal funding home energy assistance for people with low incomes.

Kathryn Savoie, PhD - Detroit Community Health Director, Ecology Center
Kathryn joined the Ecology Center in April 2012 to expand programming in Detroit under the Healthy Food, Healthier Future Project. Kathryn is a veteran community organizer and has led a number of major health, human rights and environmental justice campaigns in the Detroit area over the past 20 years. She earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Michigan after receiving her bachelor’s degree at Virginia Tech.

She is active in the community gardening movement in Detroit, and is an authorized presenter of the Climate Reality Project, trained directly by former vice president Al Gore.

Dhruv Tatke
Dhruv Tatke is a climate justice organizer at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. He is a third year engineering student. He played a role in organizing the last Washtenaw County Climate Strike and has been organizing around Earth Day this year. His work focuses on climate and environmental justice. He does educational work on the exclusivity of the mainstream environmental movement and how environment fits into the broader umbrella of justice. He is also an active member of the Climate Action Movement at the University of Michigan, a group that advocates for complete divestment from fossil fuels and true and just carbon neutrality by the University of Michigan.

Dim Mang
Dim Mang is a student organizer at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. She is a fourth year undergraduate studying history and political science. She is a climate and environmental justice activist as well as an advocate for the Asian-American community. She is the chair of the United Asian American Organizations, former president of Beta Alpha Rho, a pre-law fraternity, and an organizer at the Climate Action Movement. On top of all of that, she has been organizing around Earth Day this year, focusing on how all environmental work must also be justice work for true environmental equity.

Leelawadee Grimsby
Leelawadee Grimsby is a climate activist currently in her junior year at Ann Arbor's Pioneer High School. She has lived in Ann Arbor her entire life. In the spring of 2019, Leela joined the Sunrise Movement and became gradually became a core organizer. Through Sunrise, she joined the Washtenaw County Climate Strike Coalition and helped plan a large city-wide rally on September 20th with other organizers in the coalition. A group of 4 high school students, including Leela, encouraged many students in Pioneer High School to walk out of their classes on September 20th in solidarity with many others striking for climate action across the nation. Leelawadee is currently working toward future campaigns with Sunrise, the WCCSC, and is a Youth Ambassador in the a2zero initiative.

Michael Dorsey
PhD Dr. Michael K. Dorsey is a recognized expert on global energy, environment, finance and sustainability matters. In 1997, in Glasgow, Scotland, Dorsey was bestowed Rotary International’s highest honor, The Paul Harris Medal for Distinguished Service to Humanity . Dr. Dorsey is a “Full member” of the Club of Rome and in 2013 the National Journal named him one of 200 US “energy and environment expert insiders”. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Yale and the Johns Hopkins University, presently Dr. Dorsey a JV partner in the India (Surat) based PV panel manufacturer Pahal Solar and a limited partner in the Spanish solar concern IberSun, s.l. 

Dr. Dorsey is a serial organization builder and leader in for-profit, non-profit, scholarly and governmental realms. In the non-profit realm in 2013 Dr. Dorsey and two former student collaborators co-created the predecessor to the Sunrise Movement . In late 2018 the Sunrise Movement co-orchestrated launching the Green New Deal. In the for-profit arena, Dr. Dorsey is an active investor and co-founder and principal of Around the Corner Capital—an energy advisory and impact finance platform. Thru Around the Corner, Dr. Dorsey maintains active relationships and agreements in the US and beyond with various partners from Barrett Capital, to the California Clean Energy Fund, to Silverleaf Partners, the Royal Bafokeng Holdings (South Africa), Univergy-CCC (Japan/Spain), the World Bank and many other institutions and high net-worth individuals driving the global renewable revolution.