Someone You Should Know: Abby Beissinger & Elise Mann - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Someone You Should Know: Abby Beissinger & Elise Mann


By Diana Henry - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook | Blog

MADISON (WKOW) -- Sometimes college students get a bad reputation. Some might feel like the students only care about themselves and are only involved in their studies or going to parties. But the two young women you are about to meet prove that idea wrong. Abby Beissinger and Elise Mann are both 'Someone You Should Know.'

The little island off of Uganda called Lingira may seem like a half-a-world away. But the nearly 3,000 people on the island only 5 miles wide are connected to Wisconsin through UW-Madison.

"Our organization is about providing the tools for them to help themselves," said Abby.

Abby Beissinger and Elise Mann, along with 5 other students, spent a month on the island this past summer.

"We're giving up our own money and summers," said Abby. "We could be doing some sort of internship but instead we are going to some remote island and help people help themselves."

The students are part of The Wisconsin EDGE project which stands for Empower through Development and Gender Equality. It's a student-led organization with currently about 60 members. The students work on research and sustainable projects for struggling communities.

"You are not going to save the world with just one trip, but you will learn a lot about yourself," said Elise.

In just one example, they helped a farmer with a pest problem. The students came up with a natural pesticide made with old soapy water. The farmer tried it and a week later brought a cabbage plant back to the team to show them what happened.

"The first cabbage plant was shriveled up and it was dry," said Abby. "The other one was blossoming; it was beautiful. We were just so touched that we could actually show this difference to them in one week."

Elise and Abby hope others will be inspired by EDGE and do what they can to make Madison and the world a better place.

"Whether it's volunteering on a local level or an international level, I think it's really important for people to care about what's going on outside of the college bubble or outside their daily lives and try to be a global citizen," said Elise.

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