Public and Community Engagement
English, WSU Vancouver
Desiree Hellegers consistently and effectively applies her skills as a literary critic, oral historian, playwright, and teacher to improve the health and wellbeing of the publics and communities the University serves.
Co-founder of the Collective for Social and Environmental Justice at WSU Vancouver,
Desiree brings together academic researchers, government agencies, and community groups to address issues of local, national, and global concern.
Since 2015 she has been also reaching out to audiences in the Oregon-Washington region via a community radio station. Her portfolio includes more than 80 produced segments about environmental justice, health equity, houselessness, death on the street, and other important social matters.
She fosters community connections in her teaching as well. One striking example is her immersive Native American literature course, which included class sessions lead by the Chinook tribal chair aboard a 15-person tribal canoe traveling down the Columbia River.
Her current projects include the Food System Justice Action Research Project and creating an archive of Pacific Northwest fossil fuel resistance from Environmental Protection Agency hearings.
Desiree is extraordinary in her creativity and a model for engaged and innovative connections that uplift the community and add value to the University.