Debbra Goh ’24

Debbra Goh ’24 came to Wesleyan from Singapore, with a suitcase filled with clothes better suited to the tropics than to Connecticut. That experience, and what she learned from it, sparked more than new interests and a course of study. It led to community-wide, ongoing impact.

“I didn’t expect so many opportunities to be involved, in and out of the classroom, or for those different things to come together,” she shares. In terms of academics, Debbra surprised herself by adding a double major in Religion to her predicted Environmental Studies courses. She’s exploring how the traditional ecological knowledge of indigenous Singaporean communities can shape an alternative environmental ethic of care. Bringing it full circle, it’s also part of what inspired her to co-found WesThrift—an on-campus thrift store that takes donations from students and offers them, free, to those who need professional clothing, something different to wear, or (as she did when she first arrived) a winter coat. In Spring 2023 alone, WesThrift kept 1,400 items out of the landfill and put them into new hands. 

“This is a tangible representation of what just a little initiative can achieve,” Debbra adds. “Every bit of attention creates momentum and adds to the conversation about environmental ethics.”