Student Spotlight: Emily Worline

Emily Worline, Gabriella Phillips, and Brandon Burkey
From left to right: Emily Worline, Gabriella Phillips, and Brandon Burkey

As an undergraduate student at Kalamazoo College, second-year law student Emily Worline founded her own 501(c)(3) nonprofit called Refugee Outreach Collective (ROC). Driven by her work in refugee camps in Greece, Emily was motivated to make changes at home. 

“I was shocked by how the international community rejects particular classes of people,” Emily remarks. Her first order of business was to connect with resettlement agencies in Kalamazoo, which led to a furniture drive, ROC’s first initiative. 

“ROC works within universities to leverage resources to individuals that have experience with forced displacement. The organization has grown to include 9 student chapters and a degree program in Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi in partnership with Central Michigan University. Our chapters have jump started and continue to support important long-standing programs such as our work permit initiative at the law school, a tutoring program in Kalamazoo, and a medical relief fund in Grand Rapids.” 

Due to the efforts of ROC, several CWRU law students spent their winter break supporting one of ROC’s partners’ - the Sidewalk School for Children Asylum Seekers - efforts in adding individuals to CBP’s processing list. In doing so, CWRU Law students assisted people staying in encampments and migrant shelters to enter the US. 

“Over time my role at ROC has changed to supporting the leaders of various programs, coordinating the team and building new networks for our programs and student chapters. ROC is a collaborative effort and almost every program was initiated by members who responded to gaps in their communities.” Emily says. “After graduation I plan on continuing to expand ROC’s legal efforts to support asylum seekers’ immigration cases in the US.”