A Boston-based nonprofit organization that works to advance the public purposes of higher education has announced the 290 students who will make up their 2020-21 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows. The group of fellows is Campus Compact’s largest to date and includes Ferris State University’s Lezley Rodriguez, a native of Holland.
The Newman Civic Fellowship is a yearlong program for students from Campus Compact member institutions. The selected students are leaders on their campuses who demonstrate a commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing local, national and international communities.
Rodriguez’s Ferris accomplishments include her current service as president of the Chi Epsilon chapter of Sigma Lambda Gamma national sorority, along with her work as treasurer of the United Greek Council.
“I was a founding member of the UGC, which my peers and I believe will promote the awareness of multicultural diversity within the university, while the council promotes the work done by our member organizations,” said Rodriguez, who is a third-year Business Administration student with a minor in International Business. “I began as a member of the Hispanic Student Organization when I came to campus in the fall of 2017, with a term as their secretary. I moved on from that role to allow other students to learn from an opportunity as an executive board member, to broaden the leadership base on campus.”
The fellowship is named in honor of the late Frank Newman, a founder of Campus Compact, who was a tireless worker for civic engagement in higher education. In the spirit of Newman’s leadership, Campus Compact member presidents and chancellors may nominate one student from their institution for the fellowship.
Kaylee Burke, the executive director for Ferris’ Hispanic/Latino Cultural Center, said Rodriguez is a fierce advocate for Latina representation in business and who is fearless when presented with a new challenge.
“It has been a pleasure to see Lezley grow throughout her participation in the Promesa Scholars program, taking full advantage of each opportunity she was offered and working beyond that to further her leadership potential,” Burke said. “She learned a new theoretical model, which she applied to telling the stories of a variety of students across campus and their immigration status. That served to raise awareness of their experiences as children and young adults, impacting their confidence, academic success and professional desires. Lezley has continued to advocate for undocumented students, traveling to Detroit to record a podcast which included her own story and that of her family.”
Campus Compact provides these fellows with a variety of learning and networking opportunities to impact their personal, professional and civic growth. The fellows are invited annually to attend a conference for Newman College Fellows, along with virtual training and networking opportunities. The fellowship further provides pathways to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.
“We are proud to recognize each of these extraordinary student leaders and thrilled to have the opportunity to engage with them,” said Campus Compact President Andrew Seligsohn. “The stories of this year’s Newman Civic Fellows make clear that they are committed to finding solutions to pressing problems in their communities and beyond. That is what Campus Compact is about; it is what our country and our world desperately need.”