‘I can truthfully say that I’ve stood up for justice’
It was Earth Day at Wilmington College in April and Carly Pritchard relished the opportunity to quiz a panel of legislative staff assistants on what their bosses — U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers and U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman — support with regard to environmental issues.
PICTURED: Carly Pritchard (LEFT) questions state legislative staff members on environmental issues. (This story is reprinted from the Wilmington College Summer-Fall 2018 LINK alumni magazine)
She arrived at the panel discussion with her lunch on the run — a tangerine — and a ceramic coffee mug emblazoned with peace signs, which the graduating senior brought because she refuses to use the disposable plastic cups often provided with refreshments at campus events.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi
Pritchard and several of her Amnesty International cohorts might have surprised the panelists with the depth of knowledge evident in their insightful questions, and had them bobbing and weaving through their answers, especially when the dialogue surrounded governmental support for clean and sustainable energy practices and — she believes — the lack thereof.
Over her four years at Wilmington College, Pritchard left her mark as a social justice warrior and peace advocate, and one willing to work hard for what she believes.
“I grew up in a church where peace and social justice were important,” she said, adding that those qualities led her to Wilmington College.
A resident of nearby Lebanon, she first knew WC as the college attended by her grandfather, 1960 graduate Charles “Chuck” Pritchard of Circleville. The combination of location and qualifying for a Presidential Scholarship, with WC’s reputation as a peace college, where “you can live out your passion,” made the institution stand out among the numerous schools she considered.
Pritchard crafted a curriculum featuring a triple major in Spanish and two concentrations in business administration: marketing and economics.
She also saw opportunities to make an impact on campus — and beyond. At the end of her freshman year, Pritchard resuscitated the College’s then-defunct Amnesty International chapter, guiding it from “small and insignificant” to a vibrant campus organization.
The next year, she promoted WC as the site for a statewide gathering of collegiate Amnesty chapters, a successful venture that “solidified” the chapter — legitimizing it in the eyes of the campus, peer institutions and, most importantly, its membership.
“We have meetings and have 10 or more students show up who are really interested,” she said, noting the College regularly sent enthusiastic delegations to regional and national meetings. “Our members have really taken ownership of it, which is really cool.”
She graduated confident in the chapter’s continuity and ongoing effectiveness.
“Wilmington College has given me the opportunity to put my beliefs and faiths into practice,” she added. “Equality, social justice and peace are part of the College’s framework.”
“Peace is not something you wish for; it’s something you make, something you do, something you are and something you give away.” John Lennon
Pritchard also quickly cultivated her interest in Spanish by spending much of the summer before her sophomore year studying in Colombia and then serving as a founding member of the Latino Student Assn. to complement her leadership role with the International Club.
“Those gave me more of a global perspective,” she said. “It’s nice to surround yourself with organizations and people with an interest beyond things happening in Ohio. I especially like to celebrate Latino culture.”
International travel opportunities for Pritchard only began in Colombia. She also engaged in a study tour of Costa Rica and a conference on peaceful conflict resolution in Hiroshima, Japan. Attending two Spring Break Lobby Weekends in Washington, D.C., not only fueled her love for travel but also facilitated finding a voice for advocacy.
“A lot of people think you have to go to a large university to have diverse opportunities,” she said. “There have been so many opportunities afforded to me here.”
The College also assisted her in getting to Colombia, Japan and Costa Rica through such donor-generated vehicles as the Isaac Harvey, Lewis Marcuson and Joshua Keith travel funds. Each of these assists students in funding education-related travel opportunities.
Pritchard enjoyed the challenging opportunities included with enrollment in the Honors Program and as a member of the WISE program’s inaugural cohort. The Wilmington Institute for Stewardship and Engagement (WISE) features 11 credit hours of academic courses complemented by a leadership-driven internship and work opportunity all geared toward community building.
She participated in the psychology-based Active Minds organization and was inducted into Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish honorary), Omicron Delta Kappa (national honor society and Green Key (WC’s honor society). She earned recognition as the top senior in Spanish and graduated summa cum laude.
Soon after her graduation in May, Pritchard landed a job in which she is using her expertise in marketing, economics and Spanish, as well as employing her passion for social justice. La Terza Artisan Coffee Roasterie in Cincinnati hired her as its team organizer/operations director.
Pritchard described the company as a “social enterprise” that pays farmers a living wage and gives full service support to coffee shops in the area. La Terza offers tours and classes, and prides itself on sourcing its coffee beans ethically and sustainably.
That peace sign-emblazoned coffee mug undoubtedly continues as a tool of the trade.
“Securing a sustainable future will take all of us working together.” Sharan BurrowBACK