Jeremy Graf Evans ’18 came into college with a singular goal: to find a cause he could devote his life to. Instead, he found three.
“In my classes, I was exposed to theories and empirical research around issues such as mass incarceration, religious discrimination, inefficient or unjust property rights, environmental degradation, human rights frameworks, and more,” says the political science major and environmental studies minor. “By my junior year, I decided on three major problems areas of focus: climate change, economic discrimination, and resource allocation.”
This fall (and for the foreseeable future), Graf Evans will be exploring those “problem areas” as a Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS) volunteer at the New Economy Coalition (NEC), a nonprofit network that aims to overhaul the current political and economic systems on the grounds that they perpetuate a fundamental power imbalance. Driven by the belief that “all humanity’s struggles—for racial, economic, and climate justice; for true democratic governance and community ownership; for prosperity rooted in interdependence with the earth’s natural systems—are deeply interconnected,” the NEC hosts conferences, funds grants, supports journalistic efforts, and more.
“It is almost like a start-up that is trying to disrupt the ugly kinks of our currently extractive, undemocratic patterns,” Graf Evans says.
At NEC, he hopes to go from a focus on the academic side of activism to the practical side of it—which will likely take the form of “facilitating connections between member organizations who could benefit from collaboration” and “helping to convene working groups which focus on themes as broad as ‘Policy’ or ‘Value Chains’ or as narrow as ‘Rural Electric Co-op Organizing’ and ‘Tech Democracy.’ ”
And he believes that his time at Haverford has provided him with a veritable workshop of tools he’ll be able to apply to both of those endeavors.
“My college career has focused on developing the relevant writing, research, and critical-thinking skills,” Graf Evans says. “Now, it’s time get a wider sense of what work is already happening.”
“Where They’re Headed” is a blog series reporting on the post-collegiate plans of recent Haverford graduates.
Photo: Graf Evans, one of two captains of the men’s varsity basketball team his senior year, stands in uniform on the court. Photo by Holden Blanco ’17.