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MSU Denver sophomore celebrates Browns Canyon Monument designation at White House

A rafting trip through Browns Canyon gave political science major Diana Luna a shot of adrenaline and inspiration.

March 9, 2015

Diana Luna (left) with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell (center) and St. Cajetan Catholic Church Educator Linda Sosa. PHOTO: Courtesy of Diana Luna
Diana Luna (left) with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell (center) and St. Cajetan Catholic Church Educator Linda Sosa. PHOTO: Courtesy of Diana Luna

A rafting trip through Browns Canyon in 2012 was a thrilling ride for political science major Diana Luna: It gave her a shot of adrenaline and inspiration.

“After experiencing Browns Canyon, I learned that future access was under threat of restriction or closing. I got involved in identifying how to get the word out to protect the canyon, so future generations could experience everything it has to offer,” said Luna, who, with other youth from the Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF), helped fuel a grassroots effort to designate Browns Canyon a national monument.

All that work came to fruition on Feb. 22 when Luna learned that President Obama was holding a ceremony for the Browns Canyon National Monument designation to take place in the White House Oval Office on Feb. 24. The trip was quickly organized by HAF so Luna and some of her colleagues from Colorado who provided previous testimony could join Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Diana DeGette among others to celebrate the designation.

“I’m so proud to represent Colorado, Hispanic people and to let my voice be heard,” said Luna. “My efforts in support of Browns Canyon really influenced my decision to study politics as MSU Denver. I want to encourage everyone to be active in politics and to know that they can make a difference.”

In addition to presenting in Colorado, Luna has traveled to Washington, D.C. numerous times in support of this initiative, meeting with members of the National Parks Service, Department of Interior and the White House Council for Environmental Quality. A national monument designation helps to permanently protect watershed and water quality, conserve fish and wildlife, enhance air quality and increase access to healthy outdoor recreation.

“Diana Luna has embraced a grassroots movement for the conservation of Browns Canyon and still continues to work very hard for the permanent protection of the area,” said Robert Hazan, chair and professor of political science. “We are proud at MSU Denver to educate such bright students who are engaged in the good fight to advance progress and prosperity for all.”

After she graduates from MSU Denver, Luna plans to enter law school. She works as an intern at Ayuda Law Firm and at the State Capitol as a tour guide.