Evelyn Chow has proven to be a real change maker, community builder, and advocate.
After graduating from Kalani High School and receiving the Jordan & Cara Odo Scholarship Foundation’s first scholarship, she went on to study at Seattle University and has instantly immersed herself in the community there.
Now, almost five years later, Evelyn has earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and two minors in Philosophy and Global African Studies.
She has also kept herself very busy outside of school.
Evelyn works in the Advocacy Department of a Seattle-based nonprofit called Real Change, a street newspaper focused on economic, social, and racial justice issues. She spends her days advancing the life stories and interests of vulnerable populations in the community.
Despite having to work during the coronavirus pandemic, Evelyn was gracious to respond to some of our questions. (See below.)
Evelyn is a true young leader. We are very proud of her!
Jordan Odo: How was your time at Seattle University?
Evelyn Chow: My time at Seattle University was very important for me to develop the social justice values that I hold today. Living and learning about sociology in a city as big and rapidly changing as Seattle was very formative for my education.
Besides going to class and studying, what activities were you involved in on campus?
I was elected into student government as an at-large representative my first and second years, after which I transitioned into serving as a student representative in other departments and administrative offices. In my junior year, I co-founded the Gender Justice Center on campus because a group of my peers and I realized there were no spaces that were serving the needs of transgender, non-binary, and women students on our campus. During our first year, we were recognized by Seattle University as the year's "Outstanding Organization" at the annual SU recognition dinner. I later served in the center continuing to do work on gender-inclusive policy development as well as community outreach.
What was the most fulfilling part of your college experience?
The most fulfilling part of my college experience was building relationships with people both on and off-campus, as well as learning more intentionally about the history and policies that shape our society and what can be done to improve them.
What are you up to these days?
These days, I am working full-time at a non-profit called Real Change (in the Advocacy Department). I work with local and municipal officials as well as folks who have experienced or are currently experiencing poverty and homelessness to promote policies and campaigns that serve their needs and, in concurrence, the needs of the residents of the city. Some examples of our successful campaigns have been securing funding for mobile pit stops (10 public bathrooms) in our city's budget, and most recently working with our County to provide low-barrier access to public transportation.
I have a part-time job as the Communications Director for a candidate for WA State House of Rep., Kirsten Harris-Talley. I've been developing my portfolio as a communications specialist in local grassroots campaigns and have been enjoying learning about the intricacies of governmental communication in this and past roles in communications.
Despite your busy schedule, how have you continued to incorporate community service into your life?
Community service is, arguably, the top priority in my life. Both in my career and outside of it, I am consistently plugged into many different community organizing efforts. Most recently, I'm part of organizing mutual aid networks in Seattle for folks who are being extremely impacted by COVID-19 financially and otherwise. This includes coordinating grocery dropoffs and organizing support for restaurants, especially in our Chinatown-International District area ,which have been experiencing a sharp decrease in sales due to the racist narratives perpetuated with the coronavirus.
What career are you interested in?
I'm currently in community organizing, and envision myself continuing to do work that serves people, especially folks who have been continuously wronged by our system. I am in the process of looking into grad programs. I've considered going to law school, but I am also really interested in getting a master's in urban/city planning.