Newman Civic Fellowship

The Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes and supports community-committed students who are changemakers and public problem-solvers at Campus Compact member institutions. Fellows are nominated by their president or chancellor on the basis of their potential for public leadership.

Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides students with training and resources that nurture their assets and passions and help them develop strategies for social change. The yearlong program, named for Campus Compact founder Frank Newman, includes virtual learning opportunities and networking as part of a national network of engaged student leaders and an optional in-person convening.

We view the Newman Civic Fellowship as a core component of our strategy to build a national network of engaged student leaders who can support one another in building transformational partnerships between campuses and communities. 

Click here to find out more information including the nomination process.

Smriti Sharma Sapkota-Colby-Sawyer College Being an international student at Colby-Sawyer College from Nepal, I am constantly looking for chances to educate people about diversity and racial matters. As I am the vice president of Cross-Cultural Club and President of the class of 2022 in SGA, I have been organizing cultural events and participating in talks touching topics like cultures and races. I am organizing an event called the International Festival where we showcase different cultures and their components like food, clothes, dances, etc. This has given us a ground to talk about our experiences and show who we are apart from being a student on campus. This has proven efficient because we have been able to explain to people why diversity matters, and why do we need to include people from all races and nationalities to our community. One of my future plans is to conduct monthly talk sessions ‘CSC Talks’ where we will give a platform to students, faculties, and staff to talk about their experiences regarding racial issues on campus and in their life.

Sachin Shiva-Dartmouth College
Children have the wonderful gift of questioning why the world is the way it is. As a child, I often asked why some individuals had to beg on the street, while I had a roof over my head and food on the table. This was my first exposure to injustice. Over time, I developed a passion for interrogating what are accepted as givens – inequality, homelessness, war, and so on. I got involved with political campaigns to advocate for more just policies in our society. However, I knew I wanted to examine these injustices at the ground level. Therefore, I constructed an Eagle Scout project to provide 100 backpacks packed with winter supplies to homeless individuals in the Chicago area. When I got to Dartmouth, I immersed myself in an ethical leadership program, where I learned the importance of vulnerability and collaborative communication. Last summer, I worked with a food bank called Philabundance to increase food donations from grocery stores that were donating surplus food to the food bank. These experiences have shown me that we must continue to demand justice for disenfranchised individuals, and as children often do, we must not hesitate to change the givens in our society.

Elpis-Sofia Bougiouk-Ververoglou-Hellenic American University
Hellenic American University has provided me with the opportunity to help many children in need through volunteering at the Hadzikonsta Foundation in Athens, Greece. With the guidance of my mentors, I became connected with the organization – one that houses and cares for children who have unfortunate family issues. I have been lucky to serve a population in need. At the Foundation, I taught English and assisted in exam preparation by developing revision and practice material, as well as by conducting mock examinations. Fortunately, my relationships with the children extended outside of the classroom thanks to tree planting events and other community gatherings. In addition to my work with the Hadzikonsta Foundation, I have volunteered for the past three years as a teaching assistant at the Hellenic American Union, my University’s partner institution. Most of my time was spent with young children, especially those who required special assistance and attention. Because of my experiences at the Hellenic American Union as well as the Hadzikonsta Foundation, I hope to become an EFL instructor and revolutionize foreign language teaching by intertwining my two passions, teaching and computing. My dream is to design video games for EFL students of different language levels.

Tallie Tam Phan-Plymouth State University
The person I am today is shaped by my involvement in the community and by helping out others when they’re in need. I also learned that compassion is something that you learn and practice to cultivate every day. I bring this mindset to my work at the Office of Community Impact as a Student Impact Ambassador and to my classes as a student at Plymouth State University. Recently, I became the President of the student organization PSU Volunteers, but I know that this opportunity was only made possible by the support of my peers. As a daughter living thousands of miles from home, I try to make a home out of the campus where I live by pursuing my passion to volunteer and connecting with others through doing service. Some of the most remarkable volunteering experiences I had were with Social Action Trips, where we went south to Mississippi to contribute to hurricane relief efforts, PSU Volunteers and other programs organized by the Office of Community Impact. I hope that I can be a role model for the youths and my peers through perseverance, kindness, and empathy.

Theresa Beardsley-Saint Anselm College
I was president of my high school service club, but it wasn’t until college that I began to understand the depth of community engagement opportunities and the importance of those experiences to build awareness. As a service-learner my freshman year I connected what I was learning in my social work courses to community organizations, and I began to see unique ways that community was trying to meet the needs of vulnerable populations. I quickly saw the many obstacles that created vulnerability. This motivated me to become a student coordinator where I had the privilege of supporting volunteers in work at a center for adjudicated youth. I now help manage dozens of community coordinators and continue to facilitate conversations about new ways to engage as a college community to better understand and address needs we see in community. My favorite part of the job is allowing students to explore solutions to community challenges and then join with community in action. While community creates a great lens to help people to understand social problems, the process of dialogue and reflection has helped bring about concrete ways for students on campus and people in community to define engagement that makes lasting change.

Alexandra Vergara-University of New Hampshire

I believe in radical empathy. I went to high school in Hartford, CT – the poorest city in the state, and mostly inhabited by people of color. I went to a magnet school that specialized in the arts, and majored in Theatre. Doing theatre in Hartford, I was exposed to the city’s incredibly rich artistic community and saw firsthand the resiliency these spaces possess.

Theatre teaches you how to be empathetic. One must learn why a character does what they do and what holds them back from achieving what they want. When that mindset is applied to people- you start to see them in a different light.

To build a strong community we have to be able to hear people’s stories, and understand what drives them and what gets in their way. Everyone has done that- told a story that was slightly uncomfortable to a friend in an effort to make them feel better. After that, we exchange notes. How do we heal? What is already working? If you’re coming from a place of privilege, how do you use that to lift up others, or when do you step back and make sure other voices are being heard?

Makisa Bronson-Dartmouth College
As an adopted Chinese American woman, I am deeply passionate about social impact and social justice, particularly in the form of education justice. Last year, I interned with Dartmouth’s SEAD program, an education equity and college access program aiming to help prepare first-generation and low-income high school students to succeed in higher education. As an intern, I worked at an under-resourced high school in Upstate New York and mentored a cohort of 11 SEAD students–all first-generation, low-income students of color. During my time at the high school, I quickly realized the extent to which educational racism and other structural injustices prevent these students from receiving the quality education and resources that they deserve. This past summer, I received funding from Dartmouth’s Center for Social Impact to explore these same lessons in education equity in my birth country China. There, I interned at Stepping Stones, a Shanghai nonprofit that aims to provide basic English education to migrant students, who are often discriminated against and prevented from enrolling in the municipal school system. My experiences at SEAD and Stepping Stones have further ignited my dedication to working towards social impact, justice, and civic engagement in all their forms and to pursue a career in the social sector working towards education reform.

Andreas Lyros-Hellenic American University
Hellenic American University has provided me with the opportunity to come in contact with the minorities of Athens, as well as the major issues of contemporary Greece: homelessness, refugees, drug use, issues of discrimination, and overall violations of human rights. With the aid of Hellenic American University’s exceptional instructors, I became an active volunteer in multiple Non-Governmental Organizations in Athens, and I have been lucky enough to serve the populations in need. My services included: teaching unaccompanied refugee minors the Greek and English languages through ‘LIBRA: The Home Project’, aiding the actions of ‘Shedia’, the first and only Greek magazine of the homeless, collaborating with groups focused on the emotional relief of theatre viewers, and more. Through the Internship course provided in the Bachelor of Psychology Program, I was able to serve as an ambassador of the Hellenic American University for US students. I have successfully encouraged my fellow students to offer their services to all the actions I myself have contributed to. Currently, I am going through interviews to become a member of the 11528, a suicide prevention hotline devoted to raising awareness on LGBT issues.

Jacob Plasencia-NHTI, Concord’s Community College
I first became passionate about renewable energy and environmental change when I had the opportunity to take a sustainable energy and design course in high school. Through this course we learned about the importance of renewable energy functions and how large of an environmental impact it has on the atmosphere. Currently I am continuing to pursue more knowledge about this topic by studying Architectural Engineering. After completing this field of study I hope to design both commercial and residential structures that serve as a representation of a self sustainable building that reaches net zero.

 

Molly Cassidy-Plymouth State University
My passion for service learning evolved during my ten months spent working as an AmeriCorps NCCC Corps Member after graduating high school. Now that I am at Plymouth State University, I’m grateful I can continue pursing this passion as a Student Ambassador in the Office of Community Impact. I facilitate the Angel Tree Project on campus, getting donations out to approximately 300 local children during the holiday season. I am also involved in the Alternative Spring Break Club and the International Service Trip group. Most recently, I traveled to Westmoreland, Jamaica with a group of students to volunteer at the Association of Clubs, and I am currently planning a trip to Pennsylvania to spend a week volunteering at an eco-farm. I am extremely passionate about service learning, as well as inspiring fellow students to advocate for social justice issues. My goal is to pursue a career in a community service related field. I love to volunteer, hike, read, ski, and hang out with animals.

Abigail Roden-Saint Anselm College
For the last two years, I worked on the YWCA NH domestic and sexual violence crisis line as a counselor. I responding to hospital calls, walk-in clients, phone calls, and court needs. During that time, I have worked with resilient survivors who have overcome horrific trauma to take back their lives. Sexual and domestic violence can be experienced by anyone and impacts all of us in some way.
After shadowing the YWCA’s court advocacy program and seeing a client of mine arrested for their own abuse I realized that I had to speak out against the re-victimization of survivors in the criminal justice system. Last semester the YWCA NH and the New Hampshire Coalition of Against Domestic Violence worked to get the Marcy’s Law amendment pass the New Hampshire state floor so survivors could get justice through the criminal justice system. Marcy Law did not pass last year but the skills that I and other volunteers learned working on the campaign will help us push harder for change. I am proud of the work I have done so far and I am certain that after I leave this powerful work will continue to grow.

Kaitlin Griffin-University of New Hampshire
In high school, I learned how education and discussion are central to tackling difficult social issues. As a leader in a group called the Ethics Forum, I helped organize and lead academic conferences where students had the opportunity to talk about meaningful subjects like democracy and censorship, all at no cost to them. Students at these events worked in small breakout groups where they could talk about the material in-depth and explore possible solutions to big problems. I saw how working in an ethically motivated community could produce incredible results. Our largest annual convention, HYPE, hosts around 1000 high school students and is a great place for them to share their ideas while learning from others. This has led me to pursue opportunities on campus with my dorm hall council and the Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise that can bring awareness and action to issues like sustainability, community engagement, and social responsibility. By joining these groups, I hope to help improve my community’s well-being and spread discussion on social issues.

Sabyne A. Pierre-Dartmouth College
This past summer, Sabyne was invited on behalf of Dartmouth to attend a conference in New Zealand as a Matariki Ambassador where she discussed and exchanged ideas with schools from across the globe on different approaches to addressing health and poverty concerns within the Upper Valley Community.  They are now in the works of implementing those ideas at Dartmouth.

Sabyne also received an award titled the Spirit of New Hampshire award, for her efforts in community service.

At Dartmouth, Sabyne played a role in moving towards implementing a food pantry for students who are here during the 6-week winter break while some food facilities are closed. They addressed food insecurity at an ivy league institution, something near and dear to Sabyne’s heart.

Colleen Toomy-Saint Anselm’s College
This year, I have had the exciting opportunity to take on different leadership positions on the Saint Anselm College campus and become more engaged with the Manchester, NH community. On campus, I am working as a Senior Resident Assistant, leading a group of ten strong and passionate RAs in freshman housing. This position has allowed me to see the inner working of what the professional Residential Life staff does to insure the safety, security, and wellbeing of students on campus. This role has been significant in the development of my mentoring skills with new staff members, facilitating dialogues, and working through crisis situations. My favorite aspect of the job is living with my freshman residents and being able to be a big sister figure to them throughout the year.

A new and very exciting role that I have received on campus through the Meelia Center for Community Engagement, is being a Team Leader for Elmwood Gardens Housing Development Project’s Homework Club. With this role, I am responsible for running the after-school program for immigrant and refugee students Pre-K through 12th grade. I work closely with volunteers and other staff members to help students insure that their homework is complete, that they are given support with reading, and communicating student information between the Manchester Schools and teachers.  Not only do we provide a safe space for them after-school to complete their homework, but we engage them in science experiments and crafts each day, as well as take the students on field trips! I attend Homework Club every day from 3-5pm, Monday-Friday, as well as meet with teachers and social workers from the Manchester Schools and the Manchester Housing Authority weekly. I have fallen in love with this program and have developed such incredible relationships with the students who attend.

Christine Bryan-Keene State College
It has been an honor to serve at Keene State College as a Newman Civic Fellow. My focus has been on continued research regarding homelessness in southwestern New Hampshire. This includes a presentation given to the Greater Keene Homeless Coalition with the results from a critical analysis of how those experiencing housing crises represent themselves. I have also completed an analysis of data from local shelters, looking for markers of significance and further questions to pursue, and gave a presentation on campus. This semester I am addressing recidivism in homelessness as well as the shortage of affordable housing. Besides the satisfaction I have derived from the community connection and the fascination of “real life” research, I feel that the fellowship provided credentials that opened doors for me, which will have lasting impact into the future. I am grateful for the support and resources from Campus Compact and look forward to meeting the award recipient for next year.