Student-Run Journals Encourage Scholarship, Creative Endeavors

The Arizona Journal of Environmental Law & Policy is among the most recent UA-student run publications to be launched.
March 24, 2010
UA law students Mica Gilmore, Priya Sundareshan and Tiffany Tom are members of a newly initiated student journal, which includes students studying science, agriculture and life sciences, public health medicine and other disciplines. (Credit: Maryanna Broussard)
UA law students Mica Gilmore, Priya Sundareshan and Tiffany Tom are members of a newly initiated student journal, which includes students studying science, agriculture and life sciences, public health medicine and other disciplines. (Credit: Maryanna Broussard)
Tiffany Alvarez and Spencer Scharff (Credit: Maryanna Broussard)
Tiffany Alvarez and Spencer Scharff (Credit: Maryanna Broussard)

Students across the University of Arizona maintain a number of journals and publications meant to provide students with a chance to publish or allow them a hand at editing and management. 

One of the most recent to launch is the Arizona Journal of Environmental Law & Policy, or AJELP, which was created by James E. Rogers College of Law students.

The Web-based, student run journal will enable students, faculty and others to publish on environmental issues from legal, scientific, economic and public policy perspectives, among others.

"These issues are quite complex and require a broader perspective," said Spencer G. Scharff, AJELP's founder and editor-in-chief.

Scharff, a third-year UA law student, added that the publication already has received submissions from other parts of the United States and one from Israel. 

"The sooner students have opportunities to work with other students and those in other disciplines, the better prepared they will be to make an impact in the working world," Scharff said. 

AJELP’s membership currently includes students from the UA College of Science, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and the College of Medicine. 

Priyanka Sundareshan, a second-year graduate student and one of the journal's executive editors, said AJELP's interdisciplinary core serves to pull together research and link scholarship with decision-making practices. 

"The journal is a great opportunity for the University, which has such a diverse and accomplished faculty and staff with students involved in environmental issues," said Sundareshan, who is earning a dual degree in law and natural resource economy.

"It is extremely important that our work is interdisciplinary because environmental issues do involve a lot of different disciplines," she said. "We want to understand the legal framework we're working in while being able to formulate policies for the future." 

Sundareshan and her colleagues join a number of others in a range of programs at the UA who maintain journals and other publications. They include:

  • Arizona Law Review, also published by the UA's College of Law, is produced by students and published quarterly. The students accept submissions from their peers, faculty members and practitioners. 
  • Native Perspectives is a student-run publication that focuses on issues relevant to American Indians. The journal is accepting submissions for its next issue, which will run in May. The application deadline is April 9.
  • The Sonora Review, which was founded in 1980, is one of the nation's oldest student-run literary journals. Published by graduate students in the UA's English Department, the newest issue was released this month.
  • Persona, an undergraduate journal, is another journal run by students in the English department.
  • "You Are Here: the Journal of Creative Geography" is run by students out of the School of Geography & Development.
  • At the Arizona Health Sciences Center, students run "Harmony Magazine," an annual literary and visual arts journal, takes submission from students, faculty, staff and patients. The magazine is taking submissions through March 22. 
  • Also, members of the Higher Education Student Organization have initiated The Journal of Contemporary Research in Higher Education this year.

Since its launch, AJELP has become a sponsored publication of the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the UA. 

Scharff said, despite the connection, the journal would remain an editorially independent entity. 

The inaugural issue, which will publish online in May, will commemorate the 30-year anniversary of the Arizona Groundwater Management Act. The act sought to ensure a "balance between groundwater withdrawals and natural and artificial recharge." 

The issue will include a selection of articles. They are: 

  • A foreword written by Bruce Babbitt, former Arizona governor and U.S. Secretary of the Interior, who spearheaded the passage of the Ground Water Management Act in 1980.
  • Phoenix attorney Robert G. Schaffer has written an article about Davis v. Agua Sierra Resources, a 2009 case involving commercial water rights that was argued before the Arizona Supreme Court. 
  • Robert Glennon, the UA law school's Morris K. Udall Professor of Law & Public Policy and the journal's faculty adviser, has written an article on the energy-water connection. 
  • Aaron Citron, a UA law school alumnus who is now the project manager for the Desert Rivers Initiative of the Arizona Land and Water Trust, has written an article about the need for partnerships, particularly with landowners, that encourage land and water conservation.
  • Sharon Megdal, who directs the UA's Water Resources Research Center, and Tiffany Tom, an AJELP articles editor and a second-year UA law student, are collaborating on an article considering how best to incorporate environmental considerations into Arizona’s water management framework.

The upcoming AJELP issue also includes student notes and commentary and operates under a peer-review model.

"We're finding that there were options we didn't consider and have since opened up the conduit for scholars to write about certain subjects, or to co-author articles with other UA students," Scharff said.

"We are extremely grateful for the fantastic support we have received from members of the University and local community," he also said, "and the tremendous amount of work that we have put into launching this journal has been well worth it, since it will continue to add value to the educational experience of numerous graduate and law students for many years to come."