Fall 2015

[Alumni News]

Adam Creighton

Bringing Stoves to Those Who Need Them

ADAM CREIGHTON (’06 Journalism, ’08 Teaching Credential) knows a thing or two about living the HSU Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility.

He carried the pledge in his wallet after graduation. And now, he embodies its message every day through his work with InStove, a hybrid social venture that builds clean cookstoves for hospitals, orphanages, schools, and refugee camps in the world’s least developed countries.

“Every time I place a stove—whether it’s in an elementary school in Haiti or a Kenyan refugee camp—I know it’s making a huge difference to women, children, and the environment,” says Creighton, who’s CEO of InStove Manufacturing LTD, the for-profit arm of InStove, which builds the technology the nonprofit places.

According to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, InStove makes the cleanest, most efficient biomass cookstove on the market today.

The Oregon-based organization primarily serves sub-Saharan Africa, where wood is the main source of energy for over 650 million people. Each stove is highly effective—75 to 90 percent more efficient than an open fire—and saves 14 lumber trucks of wood from being burned each year. The stoves can provide hot meals for up to 180 people, and can be used to sterilize medical supplies and purify water.

In the least developed countries, clean cookstoves protect women’s lungs from smoke, their skin from burns, and their eyes from macular degeneration and cataracts. They also provide them with ways to generate income, and to spend more time with their families and less time gathering wood: a task that can expose them to gender-based violence, abduction, and murder, Creighton says.

At InStove, Creighton started as a volunteer at the nonprofit and quickly moved up the ranks to development director. In 2014, he founded the for-profit and became its CEO. He credits HSU for providing him with the skills to succeed.

“My journalism degree taught me how to write concise, clear copy for any media, and the teaching credential program gave me the poise and confidence to speak in front of large groups,” Creighton says. Recently, he represented InStove at two business pitch competitions in Oregon, and won awards at both.

HSU is definitely the best decision I made educationally,” he says. “You can learn the facts anywhere, but what sets Humboldt State apart is that it has a great set of values that continue to inspire me today.”