Evergreen student brings compassion to campus and environmental leadership overseas

June 13, 2018
Delaney Madalinski

Delaney Madalinski ‘18 embodies many of the core traits of a classic Greener. She is deeply rooted in her passion for the environment and has interacted with people from many cultures, which has helped her become an environmental activist, student leader, and international facilitator for Chinese youth.

"My passion is to help people understand their goals, dreams, and purpose on this earth,” she says. "Often times [this can be] through having people connected to nature, sometimes in ways they haven't been before.”

Madalinski has been enrolled in an Independent Learning Contract (ILC) for three quarters through an Evergreen program titled Writing, Communication, and Leadership: Creating Change for the Common Good. Through this project, she has been able to focus on social good from various angles. This has included serving as a tutor through LEAD (Literacy and Education for Adults with Disabilities), a program partnered with Evergreen and St. Martins University to give one-on-one tutoring sessions to people with disabilities.

"People with disabilities are often overlooked when all they really want is affirmation that they are humans, so I give them that [affirmation] through acknowledgement and empowerment,” says Madalinski. "The client I work with has been waiting months for her new wheelchair that is controlled by her mouth and she finally got it,” she continues. "Now I help her go on walks with [her chair] and she feels happy because she finally has a sense of control in her life again.”

Madalinski has also taught elementary school children in China. Last winter, she traveled to China to teach workshops on English, ecology, and sustainability to students at the Citan Nature School on the island of Hainan and Future Indigo Preschool in Tangshan.

"I moved into a boarding room and each morning we'd have community breakfast and create curriculum of what we would do with the children that day,” she reminisced. "We did movement activities, games about English, environmental lessons, and built community spaces by singing and dancing.”

Madalinski was faced with communication barriers while in China, but was ultimately able to overcome them. "I made connections with the kids when I was playing with them,” she says. “Even though we didn't speak the same language we'd make eye contact, silly faces, play fight with the boys, and play kick the can.”

While she was in China, Madalinski was also involved in environmental advocacy efforts. "Some of the school staff and I had a meeting with local elected officials about earth-building, building a sustainability museum, and the importance of these issues,” Madalinski said. "From our advocacy and others before us, they decided to build the first sustainability museum and nature school in the area.”

The Earth Nature Village, which will serve as a museum and school, is now being built in Qianxi, China. The hope is that through these programs, students will continue to have a space where they can learn about English and the environment on a deeper level.