Boston, MA - Campus Compact’s member college and university presidents from across the country have nominated 162 college student leaders for the 2012 class of Newman Civic Fellows. These students are demonstrating a personal commitment to creating lasting change for the better in their communities. Through service, community-based research, and advocacy, the 2012 class of Newman Civic Fellows are making the most of their college experiences to better understand themselves and the root causes of some of the most pressing social issues that challenge us all.
Beau Ohlgren 2013 at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC demonstrates the type of civic engagement that sets an example for others, shining a positive light in a time when negativity has dominated much national conversation. Beau Ohlgren serves directly, coordinates programs, and raises funds. While at Warren Wilson he has led the Tranzmission Prison Project, providing books and pen pals pairing student allies with incarcerated individuals for support. Connecting with LGBT prisoners inspired Beau to advocate and educate about inequalities and oppression in the prison system. His service extends to insulating homes for low-income families and mentoring in Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Internationally he was involved in turtle restoration in Mexico. Following the completion of his degree with a major in environmental studies, Ohlgren’s plans include international service work and law school with a focus on environmental policy.
As a Newman Civic Fellow, Ohlgren will join a network of Fellows around the country. Together — sharing ideas and tools through online networking — the Fellows will leverage an even greater capacity for service and change, and will continue to set examples for their classmates and others. He is the second Warren Wilson student in as many years to become a Fellow, following Laura Loewenstein in the Newman inaugural year of 2011.
“These students represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders. They serve as national examples of the role that higher education can—and does—play in building a better world,” notes Campus Compact Board Chair James B. Dworkin, chancellor at Purdue University North Central.
Through service-learning courses and other opportunities for community engagement, colleges are developing students’ public problem-solving skills, such as the ability to analyze community needs, the willingness to participate in public processes and debate, the commitment to raise awareness about challenges, and the ability to inspire others to become part of solutions.
“Dr. Frank Newman, a founder of Campus Compact, had a tremendous impact on American education and its role in the development of citizens who are eager and prepared to make a difference,” explains Campus Compact President Maureen Curley. “He dedicated his life to creating systemic change through education reform and this new group of Newman Civic Fellows would have inspired him. They are reflections and affirmations of his life’s work.”
Campus Compact is a national coalition of almost 1,200 college and university presidents—representing some 6 million+ students—who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education, that is, to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. For more information about the organization and the award, visit www.compact.org