Coronavirus Response

March 2, 2020

Dear PIELC attendees,

After days of deliberation, the Conference Co-Directors have made the truly heartbreaking decision to cancel the 38th annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, which was scheduled to take place March 5-8, 2020. We do not take this decision lightly. The rapidly developing situation with COVID-19 in the Pacific Northwest demanded a cautious response to protect the public welfare. 

This was obviously a very tough decision, as we were looking forward to hosting everyone in Eugene. We apologize for the inconvenience this will cause in your travel plans. If you are a panelist or travel stipend recipient, we will reach out to you individually shortly. If you registered for CLE credits, we are looking into video recording options to fulfill your CLE requirements or refunds. We will also pursue options to preserve some of the other scheduled content via video recording and provide this online at a later date. Additionally, we are available for questions at

The Indigenous People’s Reception and Alumni Reception hosted by the Environmental and Natural Resources Center, both large events with food service, have been cancelled independently. 

Thank you all for your continued dedication, support, and tremendous effort in putting together PIELC 2020. We could not do it without each and every one of you. We look forward to seeing the whole PIELC community in 2021.


The PIELC Conference Co-Directors

March 1, 2020

Dear PIELC attendees,

In light of the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the PIELC student leaders want to share information and resources regarding the level of concern here in Eugene, and best practices to stay healthy as we prepare for the conference. We also want to highlight that in addition to this developing situation, we are still in the peak of cold and flu season, all of which diseases may have similar symptoms. If you are concerned about your own health, seeking medical care and information should be your first step. 

The COVID-19 virus has spread internationally from person to person contacts. Therefore, general precautions for avoiding illness should be taken. Please take care of your health and the health of others by doing the following:

  • Stay home if you are feeling sick, except to seek medical care. 
    • If you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, seek medical care early.
  • Distance yourself from sick individuals.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (see proper handwashing techniques). 
    • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol until soap and water are available. 
    • Wash after travel, before eating, before, during, and after food preparation, and after toilet use.
  • Avoid touching your face (eyes, nose, and mouth).
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve or a tissue (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Minimize person-to-person contact when possible.
  • If you are healthy, please do not buy or wear surgical masks. 

Follow updates on the rapidly evolving situation through the:

PIELC student leaders will provide hand sanitizer at registration locations and information tables throughout the conference, and we can happily connect you to health resources on campus or in Eugene if you have further concerns. For more information, check out frequently asked questions about the disease as provided by the University of Oregon. 

Lastly, an excerpt from a statement from the University of Oregon Provost, Patrick Phillips:

As a final note, moments like these often involve a degree of fear and uncertainty, which makes it critical that we, as a university community, hold true to our core values. First, sympathy for the victims of the virus, and for those affected by ancillary actions such as the travel ban. We have a duty to be aware and support those who are affected by this event, no matter how large or small those disruptions. Second, it is important that fear never be turned toward individuals or groups based on country of origin or other factors. We have a special responsibility to those who are far from home, who are concerned for loved ones who may be at risk, and who may be the least likely to have a local network of support. It is moments such as these in which it is incumbent for the entire UO family to remember that we are a community as a whole, and we have a duty to support each and every member of the university.” 


The PIELC Conference Co-Directors