Meet Our Presidents

Meet Our Presidents

Meet Elizabeth Blokker (left) and Emily Larochelle (right), our co-presidents for the 2018-2019 school year.

Elizabeth and Emily have both been members of EWB Western since 2014, and have been executive team members since 2015. They are dedicated to systemic change and upholding EWB’s core values. They inspire young adults to become systems change leaders and challenge every member of our chapter to become the best versions of themselves and to work towards building a better future.

Elizabeth (Liz) Blokker

Why did you join EWB?
I had always been interested in global development in high school, and found myself really interested in the complex problems the world faces. I loved learning more about the world, the problems it faces, and what was being done to address them. When I heard about EWB’s philosophy of development, I was immediately hooked. I loved the learning attitude that EWBers have. Not just learning about one problem, but the system as a whole. Considering how one action may affect other situations. The “engineering systematic approach to development” is not just a bunch of buzz words. It’s what EWB does, and what makes it so much different than any other development NGOs.

What made you stay?
The people. Period.
I have never met such an inspiring group of people who are so welcoming, smart, open minded, and passionate about making the world a better place. It provided such a supportive environment to talk about complex problems, and interesting solutions, all at a pre before going to Ceeps. These feelings have transferred into any group of EWBers I’ve been with.
No matter where you are, if you are around EWBers, you feel like you are at home.

Why did you want to be president?
This club has fundamentally changed who I am as a person, and the way that I see life. One of the biggest things that I have learned is that we can’t solve these crazy, complex problems on our own. Investing in people is crucial to develop people around you, to keep people engaged and determined to tackle the worlds problems. Past presidents have provided the atmosphere for my personal development and have kept me as determined as ever to change the world. I want to do that by investing in others, providing a supportive and engaging atmosphere to grow.

What have your previous exec positions been?
In second year I co-planned a networking night about exchanging ideas to tackle problems in the 21st century (shout out to Josh Reding!). This year, I was the Returned Junior Fellow, coming from working at a financial technology company in Kampala, Uganda.

How has EWB changed who you are/how you look at the world?
EWB has changed the way that I look at solving problems. It has encouraged me to dig beyond the surface level of the problem to find real root causes of problems. Along the way, it has shown me the importance of interacting with people. Not just in a way where you can talk about the weather, but really get to know them and their ideas for the world. It has given me a lot of hope that there are enough passionate people in the world that change is possible!

Emily (Frenchie) Larochelle

Why did you join EWB?
In my first year my RA happened to be heavily involved with EWB (he went on to be a president of the chapter!) and would frequently bring it up. Boy was I lucky he would not stop bringing it up as it brought me to my first EWB meeting. Right after my first member learning session I was sold. I wanted to learn more about international development, the approach that EWB takes to solve problems, and the people at the chapter made me feel wanted and part of the chapter right from the start.

What made you stay?
I stayed in EWB because I had finally found a group of individuals with similar passions as mine. It felt amazing to connect with people as friends and help strive for a better world.
Anyone who joins our chapter is able to feel the sense of community we have established and this enables us to create amazing events and enact change throughout campus.

Why did you want to be president?
I have looked up to all the past-presidents EWB has since I’ve been at university and I have admired the atmosphere they are able to create and sustain. The family feel of EWB cultivates system change leaders, brings people with similar passions together, and promotes personal growth. I wanted to opportunity to continue and help the chapter thrive for many more years with my amazing co-president Elizabeth.

What previous exec positions been?
I have had several years as exec. In second year I planned the visit of two Kumvana fellows and organized the logistics of going to National Conference. I then moved on to being VP fundraising and have been the finance director for the past two years.

How has EWB changed who you are/how you look at the world?
This chapter has enabled me to have tremendous personal growth and without EWB I would not be the same person I am today. I had the opportunity to build up my confidence, knowledge, and cultivate my passions.

EWB showed me that there is an abundance of people who care about our world and has changed my view on how problems should be solved. The systematic approach provides me the tools to make lasting change and this approach will stay with me for the rest of my life.

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