MSU students travel to Tokyo for International Student Summit

Sometimes opportunity knocks when you're least expecting it.

November 10, 2015

Rosalyn Brummette and Allison Stawara

Sometimes opportunity knocks when you’re least expecting it.

Rosalyn Brummette and Allison Stawara experienced this firsthand when they received a seemingly innocent email inviting them to join the International Student Summit on Agriculture, Food and the Environment.

“It’s very clandestine,” Brummette said. “I didn’t know anything about the Summit until I got an email that said: invitation to attend. It was such a vague email subject that I actually deleted it at first.”

The International Student Summit on Agriculture, Food and the Environment started in 2000 after national leaders realized the advantages of taking a more global stance on a lot of agricultural and environmental issues, Brummette said.

The theme of this year’s conference, in Tokyo, was innovative actions that students are taking to build community resilience.

“There were participants from countries all over the world,” Brummette said. “Each participant writes a paper, and then you present on your paper at the Summit. Based on your topic, you’re divided into groups: food security, production agriculture, and community sustainability and education. Our paper focused on addressing local consumer disconnect in the context of global climate change.

“We were placed with the group that addressed food security and interacted with students from Sir Lanka, Laos and the Ukraine,” she continued. “All of those countries are developing countries, so it was quite difficult to come together, but I learned so much from the developing countries, and now I have friends from all over the world.”

The Summit covered a wide variety of topics.

“The other countries we were working with were mostly talking about ensuring a safe food supply,” Brummette said, but larger, more developed countries spent time discussing urbanization issues.

“Students need to be more aware of when certain foods are in season and where they come from,” Brummette said. “Americans just don’t understand that a lot of the purchasing that we do is centered on the thought of ‘we just want it.’ We don’t understand the impact that our purchasing power is having on the environment.

“Our goal is to teach people about buying more local and seasonal foods in order to  decrease carbon emissions because there will be less transportation of goods and less water use,” she summed up.

            “I’m so honored to have been given the opportunity to do this,” she said. “I have no idea who recommended me, but I’m so glad that they did because I got to have this life-changing experience.

“Think globally, act locally. That’s my new motto,” she said.

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