Through the Duke University Center for International and Global Studies, there are multiple graduate working groups on global issues available for membership. The Ocean Policy Working Group (OPWG) calls the Nicholas School home. Being a Coastal Environmental Management student, I eagerly joined at the start of fall semester. OPWG is an interdisciplinary graduate and professional student working group that hosts a multitude of events each semester aimed at exploring different perspectives on current ocean issues or experiences. These functions include an annual symposium, a lunch hour/coffee chat seminar series, workshops and more.
In addition to these functions, we produce a biannual ocean-themed publication, UPWELLING, with a corresponding launch party. I am now excited to be taking on these responsibilities as this year’s publication coordinator. Seminar coordinator this semester is Cameron Adams, who has hosted two coffee chats so far. Our first guest was internationally-respected lawyer and Duke Law faculty member Steve Roady.
The second was with Transform Aqorau, a Pacific fisheries expert from the Solomon Islands. Our symposium coordinator is Janet Bering, who is putting together this year’s springtime symposium—impacts of climate change and sea level rise on the North Carolina coast.
We have members of Duke faculty as well as Duke PhD student and Beaufort N.C., Mayor Rett Newton lined up to speak and contribute their expertise on the subject. Waverly Reibel, current outreach coordinator, has been instrumental in promoting all OPWG events so far. She has created flyers, posted on social media and covers email communications involving all events. Though not taking place until spring, action team coordinator Molly Bruce has begun strategizing for the D.C. lobbying trip and networking with alumni for a potential Coastal Conversations session. Last but not least, our administrative coordinator this fall is Emily Melvin. She oversees the finances behind OPWG and has been successful in securing funding from multiple organizations, without which we would have no events to host.
Our largest benefactor has been the Duke University Center for International and Global Studies (DUCIGS). With their help, we have been able to provide appropriate refreshments at our assemblies and graciously covered the cost of printing UPWELLNG magazine this semester. As this production happens to be one of our biggest and most important expenses, their funding has been integral to our success as a working group.
OPWG has helped expand my horizons on coastal issues and allowed me to pursue communication skills that I look forward to using in a career. Feel free to check out our website and past publications here!