Every year Campus Compact presents the Newman Civic Fellows Awards to nominated students across the country. This year, Geneseo junior Alyssa Stefanese received the high honor, representing the school in the competition for the first time. Campus Compact is a national coalition consisting of colleges promoting civic duties within higher education. The Newman Civic Fellows Award, presented in honor of Campus Compact founder Frank Newman, recognizes students who work to solve problems facing the country and who are leaders advocating social change and activism.
“The award strives to engage people in community and service, preparing students for the real world,” Associate Dean of Leadership and Service Thomas Matthews said. “It can’t be a senior. The student needs to be at their school during their senior year with the intent to pursue their passions that won them the award.”
Matthews nominated Stefanese for the award, recommending her as a prime candidate to Interim President Carol Long. Matthews and Stefanese have worked closely during her semesters as a Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development mentor and member on the Livingston County Board of Directors. Stefanese’s main passions lie within her promotion of hurricane relief, which with she has actively participated in through Livingston County CARES trips to Mississippi and Staten Island.
“I helped to plan the first Livingston CARES Hurricane Sandy trip to Staten Island,” Stefanese said. “I also work with underprivileged children, trying to get them more education. I was a [Higher Education Resources in Our Schools] mentor here for two years. I’ve volunteered at Jewish community centers on Staten Island working with special needs populations and children of different backgrounds and social classes.”
Working to maintain justice among social classes and helping hurricane relief gave her an edge as a Newman Fellows nominee and her efforts have inspired others to pursue their passions as well.
“Alyssa is not only engaged, but she is engaging other students as well, which is integral to the Newman Fellows Award,” Matthews said. “It paves the way for future students to achieve this. We have many students that qualify as many are involved with civic engagement.”
Both Matthews and Stefanese hope that the involvement of Campus Compact through the Newman Fellows Award will encourage and engage our students in making a difference in the world.