CWU students attend UN Summit


CrowE was one of the youth leaders invited to the United Nations Green Summit Photo Courtesy of Emma CrowE

Joshua Packard, Staff Reporter

CWU students Emma CrowE and David Torem attended the United Nations Green Summit in Bangkok last December. The students were nominated by Dr. Anne Cubilie, executive director of the CWU William O. Douglas Honors College 

“At first, Emma and I were scheduled to attend the third Peace summit,” Torem said. “However, that was canceled and replaced with the Green Summit. Both of us still wanted to go and had some interest in Climate Action. I was planning on going to the Peace Summit because it would help me with my capstone project for the Douglas Honors College: a case study on war and peace throughout the current War in Ukraine and the historical background.”

CrowE said she has always been involved with social justice. “I got involved with social justice because I care about other people,” CrowE said. “My passion started with that empathy and continues to be encouraged by my own life experiences.” 

Both honor students said they were eager to attend and knew they wished to jump on the rare opportunity. Once attended, they participated in discussions and experienced presentations about climate change and its effects. The event broadened their understanding and opened them up to new ways of thinking.

According to Cubilie, she picked the students because of their impressive applications.

“The Summit was specifically focused on bringing together youth leaders from around the globe who would bring their networking and learning from the Green Summit back to their communities and their future work,” Cubilie said. 

Cubilie speaks of Torem and CrowE as being deeply engaged change-makers who are very involved, not just with their academic studies, but also with working to make positive changes in their communities. With CrowE’s engagement with social justice and her writing, and Torem’s work with the Kittitas Environmental Education Network, Cubilie knew they were people committed to positive change and would continue to seek it.“

CrowE is a writer majoring in professional and creative writing, and she uses her pen and paper to invoke change.

“I currently have works already published that deal with my opinions, which can be found on my LinkedIn page,” CrowE said. “I’m currently working on a collection of poetry about sexual harassment and assault and how survivors move through recovery. I hope to one day get this collection published.”

CrowE expressed that the biggest thing she learned at the summit was to play to her own strengths. She enjoys writing technical papers and the like, but her creative pieces are where her passion for social justice is evident.

Torem found that “there were a few speakers that I felt imparted relevant knowledge. Felipe Queipo spoke about the importance of communications for activists. While he focused specifically on communicating with those who didn’t support climate action or didn’t believe in climate change, the concepts are applicable to activists and non-profit employees across the board.”

Torem believes the best tool for change is passion. Having faith in one’s mission and doing what you are excited about–that energy is infectious and wins people over, in his opinion. It’s also best to start by connecting with your audience rather than trying to immediately persuade them. He said how building trust is important to growing understanding.

Torem said a goal of theirs is to eventually work at the U.N. on sustainable development goals, quality education and climate action. 

“I believe that climate change is the issue of our time, and our generation has to fix it,” Torem said.

In terms of goals, CrowE said she hopes to empower others with her work. If her words could empower even one person, then she’d consider that a success.

“Social justice doesn’t have to look one way,” CrowE said. “I’ve been in marches and organized protests, but that’s not the only way for someone to bring awareness to a particular topic. Use your other passions and skills to inform the way you fight for social justice.”