In a room in Margaret Norrie McCain Hall, two students set up their laptops and snacks. Their laptops sat at eye level using chairs so the pair could stand during their debate.
Ashley Thornton and Emily Green, two undergraduate STU students, participated in the North American round of the Stetson International Environmental Law Moot Court competition, which is normally reserved for law schools and law students only.
“That room kind of became our safe haven,” said Green.
The two students representing STU competed against the University of Illinois Chicago, the University of Miami and the University of Hawaii in the preliminary rounds, earning the highest winning record in this stage.
They went on to win this competition as well as being recognized for best-written brief. They both received the awards for best oralist, Green during the preliminary round and Thornton during the final round.
“We were whooping [and] hollering in [Margaret Norrie McCain Hall]. I’m sure whoever was in [the] study hall could probably hear us,” said Green.
Green is in her third year at STU majoring in environment and society and human rights. She tried out the Moot Court program in her first year because it fit with her area of study. This competition in particular was more personal for her since it was about environmental issues.
“I was really, really honoured to compete in this competition because it’s just a passion of mine – environmental issues,” said Green.
Thornton is in her fourth year at STU majoring in criminology and psychology. She said she’s known about Moot Court since high school and a large reason why she came to STU is to join the program.
“I started Moot [Court] when I was in third year mainly because I’m going to law school next year,” said Thornton. “I know so many people who joined the Moot Court program that feel really, really prepared for law school.”
The duo paired up in the past, making this competition their third time as a team. Thornton believes they make a great team because of how different they are.
“I find right before we argue, I get really stressed and lose confidence,” said Thornton. “So it’s really nice to have Emily there because she always [says] ‘oh my gosh, we got this.'”
Thornton said her favourite part about Moot Court is being able to see their improvements since their first competition together.