Elena Anderson, Hamline University
Elena Anderson, a junior at Hamline University, is devoted to actively creating change. One of Elena’s strongest passions is working to end sexual violence and supporting survivors. The several ways with which Elena integrates her passion across communities is inspiring and remarkable. The list includes, but is not limited to Elena’s leadership as: a volunteer sexual violence advocate with Sexual Offense Services of Ramsey County, providing hospital outreach and management of crisis line; creator and instructor of creative writing class in the Women’s Unit of Ramsey County Correctional Facility; and creative writing therapy workshop leader at the Bella Center for Healing, a retreat center for survivors of sexual and domestic abuse. Elena’s community organizing and capacity building work throughout her vast experiences exemplify her immense commitment to creating social change and addressing the root causes of social issues.
-Linda Hanson, President
I’ve found where I belong, and it’s doing service work and community organizing. There are many issues I feel strongly about, but I’ve given most of my efforts to addressing sexual violence. There is so much silence surrounding the topic of sexual violence, and I’ve dedicated myself to breaking down the taboo. I think the discomfort our culture has with discussing sexual violence makes the issue easier to ignore, which only perpetuates the great harm it does to individuals and communities. I work to prevent sexual violence through collaborative research on its prevalence in my community and activism on campus, through work with multiple student and faculty groups. I also am active in helping survivors heal after violence, through facilitation of a peer-to-peer support group, advocacy with Sexual Offense Services of Ramsey County, and leading workshops with the Bella Center for Healing. I have also worked in the women’s unit of Ramsey County Correctional Facility, where I’ve been able to serve survivors who belong to a population that’s often forgotten. Through these and other service opportunities, I’ve gained a better understanding of my place in the world and how I’m able to create change in the issues I care about.