Cameron Conner, a politics and rhetoric studies major in his junior year at Whitman College, excels in the realm of global social entrepreneurship. He co-founded Conscious Connections Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that responds to healthcare, education and infrastructure challenges in Nepal. Through his community-based research and community organizing strengths, Cameron has overseen the day to day operations of this non-governmental organization, and has participated in significant fundraising efforts to create sustainable resources for this work to continue. Locally, Cameron is committed to community-based efforts around voter registration, enhancing civil rights education in public schools, and leading inclusive, problem-solving conversations on campus through his role as a resident advisor. Presenting at the social justice-themed Power & Privilege Symposium and at Whitman's prestigious Undergraduate Conference, Cameron translates his academic background into spaces with fellow students and community members to provoke contemplation, relational connection and social change. Cameron is an active citizen and embodies the character, vision and impact of a public servant.
My first trip to Nepal was when I was five months old. Over the next 21 years I would travel back and forth for months at a time with my parents, as their Fair Trade business grew along with our community there. The relationship-based business practices that my parents and their partners follow left a permanent impression on me. Growing up split between Kathmandu and Washington State taught me to appreciate the power of these personal relationships in developing systemic change. In partnership with members of this community, the the Conscious Connections Foundation (CCF) was created in 2014 as a 501©3 dedicated to promoting access to K-12 education for young girls and providing primary healthcare in remote regions. Our team at CCF entered an entirely new world following the April 2015 earthquake in Nepal, and only recently have we begun to disengage from disaster relief. On campus, I have sought to employ this relational approach to change making through campus organizing, political campaigning, and rewriting the methods of governance that underlie our student body government to ensure a more equitable and socially just method of representation.