Accessible Navigation.

UM Law Student to Attend United Nations Climate Change Conference in Denmark

UM Law Student to Attend United Nations Climate Change Conference in Denmark

Posted December 4, 2009

Melissa HayesMelissa Hayes, a third year law student at The University of Montana School of Law and graduate student in the Environmental Studies Program, will represent the Law School and the Environmental Studies Program at the United Nations Climate Change Conference December 7-18 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Melissa wil join approximately 10,000 people attending the conference and monitoring the progress of nations on the global climate issue.

Hayes is the recipient of a grant from the Wiancko Family Foundation in support of her participation in the climate change conference in Copenhagen. As part of the grant, she will post daily blog posts about the conference at You may access all of the student blogs of the UM students at Copenhagen at

Hayes and two other UM Environmental Studies Program students have received credentials to join officials from more than 190 international governments, UN representatives, members of non-governmental organizations and the media during negotiations to address climate change. The aim of the conference is to create a resolution that will guide efforts to halt global warming once the initial phase of the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. President Barack Obama has indicated that he may attend the conference.

Hayes agreed, saying, “We are at a turning point – or a breaking point. What our world leaders decide to do in terms of climate change will impact the future of humanity on this planet, the ecosystems and the species.”

Hayes grew up in Girard, Ohio. She completed her undergraduate work at Hiram College in 2003, earning a degree in Environmental Studies with an Environmental Justice emphasis and Communications minor. At The University of Montana, she is enrolled in the joint degree program with the Environmental Studies Program and will graduate in May 2010 with a Master's in Science and a JD from The University of Montana School of Law. Her graduate portfolio topic for the Environmental Studies Program is climate justice. Law school activities include Conference Editor for the Public Land & Resources Law Review, events coordinator for the Environmental Law Group, and member of the National Environmental Moot Court Team. After graduation, Melissa plans to practice environmental law in a non-profit arena doing public interest work.