A cohort of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America students, the Rondo Commemorative Plaza and Ireland Hall Area Director Jake Reilly have received Minnesota Campus Compact Awards for their leadership and civic engagement, and junior Andrew Spencer has received a Newman Civic Fellowship.
Campus Compact Awards annually recognize effective leaders who develop campus-community partnerships, and the Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes and supports community-committed students who are changemakers and public problem-solvers at Campus Compact member institutions. All four St. Thomas awardees will be recognized as part of a state summit and awards luncheon April 10 at St. Catherine University.
“The Center for the Common Good values the collaboration between our students, faculty, staff and community in the mutually beneficial partnership to advance the common good,” said Theresa Ricke-Kiely, executive director of the Center for Common Good. “We are delighted to recognize a few of the exemplary people working arduously to create equity and promote social justice.”
St. Thomas Big Brothers Big Sisters cohort is being recognized for the Presidents’ Student Leadership Award, which highlights “an individual student or a student organization that models a deep commitment to civic responsibility and leadership, evidenced by initiative, innovative and collaborative approaches to addressing public issues, effective community building, and integration of civic engagement into the college experience.” The group of 24 first-year students from St. Thomas have volunteered weekly at Four Seasons A+ Elementary School for the 2018-19 academic year, living out a commitment to addressing Minnesota’s opportunity gap and investment in making an impact in the lives of young students.
The President’s Community Partner Award is annually given to “a community-based organization that has enhanced the quality of life in the community in meaningful and measurable ways and has engaged in the development of sustained, reciprocal partnerships with the college or university, thus enriching educational as well as community outcomes.” Marvin Anderson – founder of Rondo Days and Rondo Avenue Inc. – has been working his whole life to reclaim the once vibrant social, political and economic fabric of the St. Paul community of Rondo. The newly inaugurated Rondo Commemorative Plaza serves as a center for topics such as the economic power of this historic black neighborhood, gentrification, space, healing and reconciliation.
Ireland Hall Area Director Jake Reilly is being given the President’s Civic Engagement Stewardship Award, which recognizes a member of the faculty, administration or staff who has “significantly advanced their campus’ distinctive civic mission by forming strong partnership, supporting others’ civic engagement and working to institutionalize a culture and practice of engagement.” Reilly is committed to engaging students in the nonprofit community, and has hosted restorative justice circles to help restore a culture of respect, inclusion and equity. Additionally, Reilly co-advises the Queer Straight Alliance Club and is a strong advocate for students.
Through the Newman Civic 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. Spencer’s fellowship recognition stems from his leadership in addressing issues surrounding food inequity in the Twin Cities. Through his involvement with St. Thomas’ BrightSide Produce, Spencer has partnered with individuals across the Twin Cities to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables. He also:
- Helped expand the on-campus Buyers Club program, which has increased healthy eating on campus and provided financial support for BrightSide’s weekly produce deliveries to food insecure neighborhoods
- Helped start an office fruit bowl program on campus where offices and residence halls made fresh fruit available to students and staff members
- Co-edits BrightSide’s monthly newsletter, helping to expand BrightSide’s customer base and support network
- Participated in HECUA’s Inequality in America program this fall, where he interned with the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation and worked to advance economic justice for workers in the metro area