University News

Western Students Participate in Leadership Conference, Work to Raise Awareness

April 14, 2005

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MACOMB, IL - - Western Illinois University senior Eric Brooks (Lake In The Hills, IL) and junior Carlyn Jorgensen (Chatham, IL) have been sharing their insights into the human rights violations in Dafur, Sudan, with fellow students.

In February the political science majors were among a group of nearly 400 students representing 90 schools from across the U.S. to attend “A Call to Action for Darfur: National Student Leadership Conference,” presented by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience.

The conference in Washington, D.C. included remarks by Holocaust Survivor Nesse Godin; a series of series of panels that explored the history, current situation and policy options in Sudan; and a speech by General Roméo Dallaire, the commander of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. The second-day activities included workshops and meetings, presented by Georgetown University’s STAND (Students Take Action Now for Darfur).

“Throughout this spring semester, Carlyn and I are both taking part in various ways across campus to get the word out about Darfur,” said Brooks.

They have participated in the Associated Students of Political Science presentation on the international response to the genocide in Darfur, served as guest speakers in several courses discussing terrorism and international relations and participated in a panel discussion at Western’s TEAMLEAD “I’m Aware” campaign.

Their participation in the conference was an outgrowth of last fall’s 400-level political science course “Conflict Resolution and International Peacekeeping,” taught by associate professor Vin Auger.

“I had been following the situation in Sudan, and one day Dr. Auger posted a link to a website about student groups who were calling attention to the situation in Sudan,” said Jorgensen, who has a double major in political science and history. “That website is where I learned about the conference.

“I learned a lot at the conference. It was a great experience,” she added.

Brooks said the conference “was really about civic engagement and seeking to help those in our global community as well as those around us.

“This theme has appeared repeatedly in my course work here at Western,” added Brooks, an international relations minor. “I have learned through various organizations that I have been a part of at WIU, that if change is what you desire you must get involved.”

Brooks, a resident hall assistant, has participated in Interhall Council, WAVE (Western’s All Volunteer Effort), the International Friendship Club and Western’s Associated Students of Political Science. His career aspirations include working as a State Department foreign service officer. Eric is the son of Larry and Sharon Brooks, Lake In The Hills, IL.

Jorgensen serves as president of Western’s Associated Students of Political Science. She is also involved in College Democrats and the University-Community Tsunami Relief effort. The daughter of James and Kathleen Jorgensen of Chatham, IL, Carlyn plans to pursue a master’s degree in campaign management and hopes to someday work as presidential campaign manager.

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