ACS Student Coalition


acssc-logo-rectangularOur mission is to use research and education to promote advocacy for the world’s cetaceans and oceans.

The national student coalition is the first student chapter of the American Cetacean Society (ACS), the world’s oldest whale conservation organization. After 46 years, ACS continues to be a leader in the field of cetacean education, conservation, policy, and education.

In a time where activism is characterized by extreme rhetoric that is often counterproductive, we hope to use strategic, science and reason based action to effectively protect cetaceans and their habitats. The ACS Student Coalition believes that research and advocacy can work in tandem, and that there is a need for an open and productive dialogue between marine mammal researchers and those who engage in advocacy.  The Coalition aims to provide a much-needed niche within the world of cetacean conservation, research, education, and policy for students with the full support of the American Cetacean Society, the world’s first whale and dolphin conservation organization.

The Coalition works to provide students of all ages everywhere with an opportunity to feel inspired, engaged, and empowered among an active community. We aim to create this community through a web of regional student groups across the country.

acssc dolphin image Property of HEPCA

Why cetaceans?

Cetaceans have  ignited the beginning of the global environmental movement. While our campaigns focus upon factors that directly affect cetaceans, we view whales and dolphins as an iconic ‘umbrella’ species that represents a multitude of marine issues. These other equally important issues include the destruction of other ecologically important species, ocean acidification, marine plastics pollution, etc. We hope to help connect advocates and organizations in marine conservation and marine animal rights/welfare in order to holistically approach our goals.

Regional student groups:


members testing the biological, physical, and chemical elements in the local campus Jordan River for the Water Quality and Plastics campaign.

The ACSSC began at IndianaUniversity in Bloomington, IN in the middle of the country. It may seem bizarre at first, but student members of this group understand that the health of the marine habitat and its inhabitants are integral to our survival, regardless of location. Eventually the initial leaders of this group have moved on to focus upon national expansion while the ACSSC-IU has new leadership. The student group began focusing upon sustainable seafood, cetaceans in captivity, and plastics pollution and continue to in addition to new campaigns. Their efforts continue to educate the  local community about the importance of being a responsible consumer in their purchases as well as active monitors of policy that affects local waterways which lead to and affect the global marine environment.

 *The following student regional groups are forming now or will be updated soon!



ACSSC-Belmont HS (Belmont, CA)

ACSSC-Tamalpias HS  (Mill Valley, CA)

  Wish there was a coalition near you? Create your own!

 Whales, dolphins, and porpoises (collectively known as ‘cetaceans’) enchant us with their grace, intelligence, and beauty, and have an exceptional ability to inspire people and serve as ambassadors for marine conservation.  And yet these magnificent creatures face more threats today than ever before – from entanglement in marine debris and fishing gear, ship strikes, noise pollution, climate change, ocean acidification, contaminants, loss of habitat and whaling.

Every student should consider joining a professional society—a society that represents its members and works for the good of their chosen profession.  One of the benefits of joining the ACS National Student Coalition is the ability to network and collaborate with your peers and professionals in different disciplines, backgrounds, and institutions to address the challenges that whales, dolphins, and porpoises face in today’s complex world.

ACSSC-IU held an “Ocean Jeopordy” night on the last meeting before finals week.

Leading your own ACS student coalition can be very rewarding and fun. ACSSC-IU members have hosted guest speakers, screened numerous documentaries, hosted fundraisers, had social events such as marine themed parties, and attended campus events.

How can the ACSSC help me start my own coalition?

Us officers here at the national ACSSC are more than happy to answer your questions, give you more information, and assist you from the start with organizing your peers. It may seem daunting, but you will find yourself very surprised at how many others exist nearby that also want to put their energy into action. ACSSC-IU is the first chapter of the student coalition, if the founder was able to connect with like minded peers in Indiana, so can you!  We can provide you with tips on recruitment, campaigns, and offer resources and materials we have created for our campaigns such as pamphlets, and presentations. We will also provide advice regarding fundraising, meeting ideas and activities.

What is expected of me as a leader?

It can be very rewarding to have a leadership position for a cause you care about, however, it can also be challenging as a busy student at any level of education. We at the ACSSC understand that challenge quite well! With maintaining your grade point average, part-time job, etc., we recommend ACSSC leaders take on only as much as they can. Each regional student group can pursue whichever campaigns they choose, this is often best because some issues can be better tackled when the group is in a geographically convenient location to take action. Other ACSSC groups can meet every week, or every other week, whichever is most convenient for the officers.

If you are interested, contact us!

Contact ACSSC:     or

Lynette R. Koftinow, SF Bay ACS President: to create a chapter to working with SF Bay ACS Chapter.

We look forward to working with you!