Stony Brook student activist Emily Withers has been selected as one of international anti-poverty organization Oxfam America’s CHANGE leaders for the 2018-2019 academic year. She is one of only 30 students chosen among campuses throughout the country for this competitive program. Through Oxfam’s CHANGE Initiative, Emily will gain leadership and advocacy training to prepare her to promote social change on campus.
“It is an incredible opportunity to be selected for this prestigious program,” said Emily. “I have always been drawn to Oxfam’s mission of ending poverty, and gaining the skills to help this become a reality is invaluable. I can’t wait to see how my training will benefit my future work for SBU’s chapter of Oxfam.”
CHANGE leaders pledge to engage with Oxfam for an entire academic year beginning with a five-day leadership and advocacy training program, which will take place in Boston this summer. The purpose of the training is to develop student’s skills, expand their knowledge of global issues, and provide them with the necessary resources to return to their campuses and undertake work with a view toward alleviating global poverty.
“We are excited to extend CHANGE leader invitations to these incredible students,” said Nessa Stolzfus Barge, Volunteer and Youth Engagement Manager at Oxfam. “Each of these students has demonstrated deep commitment and passion for Oxfam’s mission to end the injustice of poverty, and we are thrilled to be able to connect with them and support their work to channel that passion into action.”
Emily is a sophomore pursuing a BS in Biology and a minor in Studio Art. She joined Stony Brook University’s chapter of Oxfam America in her freshmen year because she was interested in volunteer work and Oxfam’s mission of lifting people from poverty. Emily was involved in other nonprofit organizations before college and mostly helped by fundraising.
“What I enjoy most about our chapter of Oxfam is its emphasis on serving people directly and using your power as an individual to create positive change,” she said. “My favorite event that we hold is a ‘Midnight Run’ in which our members spend months in preparation to deliver food, clothing and toiletries to the homeless in New York City for one night. Being able to deliver all of our donations and talk to people who receive them is an experience I am grateful to be a part of, and I look forward to it every year.”
Emily serves as president for the chapter and works with the group’s executive board to raise a platform for students who want to serve their community and learn more about Oxfam’s domestic and international work on poverty and social justice.