Michel Justen here. I'm currently an undergraduate EA community builder at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where I started and lead the EA group (eauw.org). I'm also interning at Global Challenges Project.

I wanted to write about what I'm interested in here, but there's a lot I'm interested in and it changes often. If you think we share an interest (we probably do), don't hesitate to reach out!


Topic Contributions


EA and the current funding situation

Here’s a reminder I’ve found helpful for feeling risks of omission: there’s a world in which we fail.

There’s a world in which we tried to stop X-risk by unaligned AI or a catastrophic pandemic, but we didn’t. We didn’t act with enough urgency, and being really cautious about our spending slowed us down.

Jose Valle: Virtual reality for promoting empathy

I'd love to see more virtual reality content in EA! 

VR will only become bigger in future years, and it seems uniquely posed to share ideas at a more visceral, emotional level that traditional EA communication can lack (e.g. first time I put on a VR headset and did the ISS simulation I had a mini overview effect that reaffirmed "wow, I really wanna protect this planet"

Resources for better understanding aptitudes?

I can't think of any collections related to these aptitudes, but I agree they could be really valuable.

Coming up with group-learning guides for buildings these aptitudes could be a great, scaleable activity for student groups post-intro fellowships. 

Similarly,  projects ideas related to the aptitude could be really helpful. Some people have said that work trials (e.g. Rethink priorities') were very helpful for them to test to their fit, so these could be something to look into. 

Let me know if you look into this more– it's a project I'm considering this summer. 

How To Raise Others’ Aspirations in 17 Easy Steps

Good ideas!

In a meeting a while back I floated a half-baked thought and you said something like "Is there something you could do [to develop that idea] in the next five minutes?" That's stuck with me since as an unusual – but very helpful – meeting moment :) 

The BEAHR: Dust off your CVs for the Big EA Hiring Round!

I would love it if someone decided to quickly create and boldly market a new EA jobs board.

I want to flag the existence of the EA Internship Board for younger EAs. We hope to update this regularly as new positions role in! 

(If anyone is interested in helping source opportunities for young EAs in the coming months, please get in touch with me at MJusten@wisc.edu !) There would most likely be funding available. 

Related question: what proportion of these new opportunities do you think will be accessible to EA college students and recent graduates? 

We're announcing a $100,000 blog prize

This is really exciting! Props to a beautiful, clear website and a launch that created a buzz. This initiative is the nudge I needed to get serious about starting that blog-thing I've talked to friends about.

What proportion of the content for such a blog/website should be EA-related? I'd love to write about EA ideas, but I'm also drawn to topics in philosophy of mind, mental health, and like... existing. Could you see a successful blog dip into a wide variety of topics, or would you be more excited about a blog where nearly every post has a clear connection to EA? 

Any EA Documenters/Cinematographers who want to make an EA documentary?

I unfortunately don't have any relevant experience, but I like this idea.

It could be interesting to have a short documentary about the community, especially what motivates us. With all our quirks, I think our intense desire to make the world a better place is pretty wholesome and loveable – or at least I feel that about my fellow EAs :) I'd like to see snapshots of how people turn that desire into action, and how the community as a whole fosters it. 

It could also be powerful to see people talk about what they find difficult about EA or longtermism and address some of the possible critiques people may have in a very personal way. (Interviews like those in Habiba's Twitter thread come to mind!)

Writing about my job: Operations Manager

I remember asking you this question in a one-on-one hehe. I'm glad you took the time to write it out! This will be helpful for me to return to :) 

Get In The Van

Really enjoyed this post– thanks for writing it!

Uses of EA Retreats, Case Study UK Uni Organisers’ Retreat Dec 2021

Thanks for writing this up! It would be really cool to see some reproducible programming and advice for folks interested in organizing an organizers retreat. They seem very valuable. 

I'm aware of such a resource for group member retreats from Olivia Jimenez "Next Steps" retreat resource, but I don't know of any content that could help a group organizer plan an organizer retreat. 

For example, there is a nascent EA Midwest collaboration arising between UChicago, UW–Madison, Northwestern, and U Michigan. I could see us running an organizer retreat in the future, and some resources on key considerations and programming would be useful.

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