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Central Washington University
Office of International Studies and Programs
Hebeler Hall 102
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7408

Student Represents CWU at United Nations Green Summit In Thailand

By Rune Torgersen

Emma CrowE never envisioned herself studying abroad when she first applied to Central Washington University, much less representing the university in Bangkok, Thailand, for the inaugural United Nations Green Summit.

Following her passion for social justice, the senior creative and professional writing major was among the 157 delegates from 31 countries who attended the December 13-16 conference, hosted by Humanitarian Affairs Asia.

CrowE and her peers from around the world attended presentations and engaged in discussions that opened their eyes to the many ways they might help their communities forestall the impending threat of climate change. CrowE said the conference helped her explore the different avenues a creative writing professional might take to communicate the true severity of climate change.

“If you write a creative piece about climate change, you’re going to reach a different group of people than those who are interested in the technical aspects of it,” she said. “I think it’s all about getting these social justice messages and humanitarian work into different aspects of entertainment and other things the general public will consume.”

CrowE was nominated as a Green Summit delegate by Dr. Anne Cubilié, executive director of the William O. Douglas Honors College at CWU, who saw CrowE’s passion for effecting change in the world through her writing.

“Last year, I received an email from the director of the Honors College, saying she had nominated me to attend this summit,” CrowE said. “I’m really big on social justice writing, so I took a look at it and decided it was something I really wanted to attend. I got a lot out of this conference, especially through speaking with the other delegates. I’m not always an outgoing person, but by the end of the conference, I felt like I could communicate with people from many different cultures, as well as those who might not agree with me on the issues we’re discussing.”

CrowE joined the Douglas Honors College early in her college career and says the experience helped expand her horizons, while affording her the opportunity to take her work to another level. The support her professors provided has helped shape her into the writer she is today.

“I’ve been incredibly supported here at CWU, and it’s such a great feeling,” CrowE said. “I’m mainly a poet; I write a lot about violence against women, and my professors in the creative writing department and at the honors college have really listened to me. They’ve told me that my work is important, and that even though it’s not a research paper or peer-reviewed article, it’s still something people need to hear and that I should continue to do.”

Since joining the Douglas Honors College, CrowE has participated in several virtual ethnographic studies and published multiple literature analyses. She also traveled to Greece for two months to research the impact of COVID-19 on the local population.

These international experiences helped her secure a job (after she graduates this winter) as donor coordinator with Wenatchee-based nonprofit Sister Connection, which helps widows in Burundi, Africa, get back on their feet and find new opportunities for success.

“One of the interview questions was about how I do with working internationally, with people all over the globe,” CrowE said. “I was able to connect that with a lot of the things I learned in Thailand, as well as last summer in Greece, which I think really helped me get my foot in the door.”

When CrowE graduates from CWU this March, she will have spent four years honing her writing as a force for social justice and change. She knows this wealth of experience, and the support she has received from professors and fellow students at Central, will open new doors for years to come.

If you ask CrowE, these same opportunities are out there for any CWU student who’s willing to pursue them.

“I really encourage (people to look) for these kinds of opportunities,” she said. “When I came to Central, I never thought that it would take me across the world. I didn’t think that Ellensburg, Washington, would be the place that’d send me to these incredible conferences or help me get my writing published. I just had to look for it, make those connections with my professors, and show that I was passionate about what I do.”

Media Contact: Rune Torgersen, Department of Public Affairs, 

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