A St. Thomas student organization, a university staff member and a community partner who works closely with St. Thomas have been selected as recipients of the 2022 Campus Compact Presidents’ Awards.
Campus Compact announced the recipients of the awards on May 4. Campus Compact Presidents’ Awards recognize outstanding contributions in civic and community engagement by students, faculty, staff, collaborative teams and community organizations on individual member campuses.
The Association of Women in Science (WINS) has been selected as the recipient of the 2022 Presidents’ Student Leadership Award. WINS is a St. Thomas student organization that uplifts the work of women, femmes and nonbinary people interested in science fields. WINS has been significantly impacting the community through weekly science classes at Ramsey Middle School and recently held an on-campus science fair featuring experiments created by their middle school students.
Dustin Killpack, associate director in the Center for the Common Good, works with many student organizations to help them implement volunteer projects into the work of their clubs. He expressed appreciation for the effort WINS put into creating a project that aligned with the mission of the student organization.
“They went above and beyond, meeting students weekly at Ramsey Middle School to spark their interest in learning and to plan a science fair project,” said Killpack. “With all the school disruptions, distance learning and social distancing challenges related to COVID, it would have been easy to postpone this project. I admire all their club members and leaders who participated and overcame the obstacles to produce such a fun, educational and engaging event for the students at Ramsey.”
Amy Gage, director of neighborhood and community relations at St. Thomas, has been selected as the 2022 Presidents’ Civic Engagement Leadership Award winner. Gage was recognized for the valuable relationship-building work she does as a staff member, nurturing strong, meaningful partnerships with organizations such as the West Summit Neighborhood Advisory Council (WSNAC) and Keystone Community Services. Gage also serves on the Civic Engagement, Voter Engagement and Education, and Advocacy (CEVEA) task force and leadership team and works to educate the campus community about voting, communicating with elected officials and engaging in advocacy efforts.
The 2022 Presidents’ Community Partner Award has been awarded to Brenisen Wheeler and Women’s Advocates. Wheeler works as the community education and outreach manager at Women's Advocates and has worked diligently to partner with multiple Common Good Community-Engaged courses through the Criminal Justice Program and Social Work Program.
Dr. Jessica Hodge, Criminal Justice faculty member and faculty director of the Center for the Common Good, is one of the St. Thomas faculty members who has partnered with Wheeler and Women’s Advocates.
“As the first domestic violence shelter in the country, Women’s Advocates has enhanced the quality of life for so many individuals over the past 50 years … Not only does Women’s Advocates provide shelter, and housing and aftercare services for survivors of domestic violence, [but] they are also committed to offering vital outreach and education within the community,” Hodge said. “The engagement efforts are necessary so that everyone within the community can work together to break the cycle of violence.”
Wheeler has played an important role in Women’s Advocates education and outreach efforts. A prime example of this is the work Wheeler has done with St. Thomas faculty and students, co-developing projects with instructors to help students develop research, use networking skills and deepen their knowledge of domestic violence.
Teri Mueller is a program manager in the Center for the Common Good.