Q&As with outstanding students is an occasional feature of The Wesleyan Connection. This issue we speak with Corey Guilmette from the Class of 2013.
Q: Corey, you’re the 2012 recipient of the Peter Morgenstern-Clarren Social Justice Award for being chair of the Wesleyan Committee for Investor Responsibility. Tell us about that committee.
A: It has become increasingly evident in the wake of the financial crisis that the current investment system favors blind short-term gains and not long-term results that more often help people and the planet. The Committee for Investor Responsibility seeks to encourage investments that benefit society as opposed to investments that are harmful to people and the environment. For example, last semester we developed a proposal to have Wesleyan move some of its money from larger, national banks into local banks that help empower low-income communities.
Q: What got you interested in investments?
A: During my freshman year of college I heard about socially responsible investment and was very excited about the great amount of good responsible investment could do. Wesleyan’s endowment is approximately $600 million, which means that its investment decisions can have a big impact, whether it is as a shareholder advocating for greater environmental responsibility or choosing investments that help disadvantaged communities.
Q: What classes (or professors) at Wesleyan have been most instrumental to you, so far?
A: It’s tough to pick just one class or professor, but last semester I had the opportunity to take Environmental Politics and Democratization with Professor Mary Alice Haddad, which was an amazing class. The seminar was interdisciplinary, involving several dance classes and an art project. I definitely emerged from her class able to view social and environmental issues in a more open and holistic manner.
Q: You’re also involved with the Middlesex Coalition for Children. What is your role with the non-profit organization?
A: For the past two years I have worked as a legislative intern for the Middlesex Coalition for Children. Over that time I have conducted research and advocated for national legislation to increase funding for pre-kindergarten programs. This past year I analyzed the results of a study the organization conducted about childhood hunger in Middletown and presented the results to a group of 40 people who work with children in Middletown.
Q: What other organizations/clubs are you part of?
A: I have been very involved in developing Wesleyan’s student-run residential composting system. I also led a group of students who planned an Earth Day festival last year that featured live music and activities that showcased the work that various environmental clubs on campus had done during the year.
Q: What is your major and what do you hope to accomplish after Wesleyan?
A: I am double-majoring in government and psychology. There’s no real reason for this specific combination; they are just the two areas that interest me the most. After I graduate I want to go to law school and work in public interest law.
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: I really like sports and the outdoors! I have played soccer all of my life and go hiking and biking all the time during the summer. Right now I am studying abroad in Madrid. I started taking Salsa lessons here and am not half-bad at salsa, which I’m pretty proud of because I was a pretty bad dancer before I came here.
Q: What should we invest in? Give up some tips!
A: It’s really tough to make any concrete recommendations because there are a lot of factors that go into making investment decisions. Wesleyan employs some very intelligent people who are very good at picking investments that will help generate strong returns for the endowment. However, very often the most profitable investments run counter to the values of many Wesleyan alumni, faculty, and students (nondiscrimination, sustainability, etc.). As I wrap up my junior year of college and begin to think about my life post-Wesleyan, I want to know that any donations I make to Wesleyan in the future not only support important programs, such as financial aid, but also are put into investments that are consistent with my most basic values.