Emily Rodriguez, far right, poses with Bronwyn Hughes, left, from Australia, who is also a youth delegate for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and Rajendra K. Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
Emily Rodriguez ’10 is in Cancun, Mexico, Nov. 29 to Dec. 10, although you will not find her relaxing on a tropical beach. Rodriguez is busy serving as a youth delegate for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP16).
Rodriguez, who graduated from Whitman with a degree in sociology-environmental studies, is one of 15 remarkable young women from 11 countries across the globe who comprise the WAGGGS youth delegation. They are joining key policy makers and international leaders at the conference, Nov. 29 to Dec. 10, to raise awareness of the fact that girls and young women are disproportionately affected by climate change and need to be placed at the heart of any solution.
“My Whitman experience gave me the opportunity to learn about environmental issues in an academic setting,” said Rodriguez. “I wrote my thesis on youth environmental education, and at COP16 I am working with the other Girl Scouts on lobbying for a text in the negotiations that recognizes the importance of non-formal education for girls and boys.”
“My courses at Whitman taught me how to think critically and creatively. One of the courses that has best prepared me for my work at COP16 was “Sociology of Complex Organizations,” where I learned about how NGOs are involved in forestry and studied the World Bank. At Whitman I also worked on many group projects and participated in discussion based classes that have prepared me for the collaborative work at COP16.”
A New York native, Rodriguez was chosen to be a WAGGGS youth delegate because of her commitment to environmental sustainability and experience in advocacy. In addition to her degree in sociology-environmental studies she has also taught environmental education to children and developed a project guide for the Girl Scouts Forever Green program (Girl Scouts of the USA’s new environmental program focused on reducing carbon emissions). While at Whitman she also participated in varsity cross country, the cycling club and the Whitman mentoring program.
Recognizing the impact Whitman College has on the environment and the leadership role Whitman College plays as an institution of higher learning, the college affirms a set of environmental principles and standards, which help guide the ways Whitman College can promote an environmentally conscious campus.
Whitman College, in Walla Walla, Wash., is the premier liberal arts college that combines academic excellence with an unpretentious Northwest culture and an engaging community. An independent, non-sectarian residential college, Whitman fosters intellectual vitality, confidence and leadership in its 1,450 students. Also noted for its commitment to environmental principles, Whitman is characterized by intellect, down-to-earth sensibilities, collaboration over competition and active lifestyle.
— Ashley Coetzee