When students are deeply engaged with their work and their communities, their labors deserve to be recognized. With this idea in mind, there is a national organization committed to the acknowledgement and further development of student leaders. Campus Compact sponsors the Newman Civic Fellowship, which allows the chancellors and presidents of universities to nominate one exemplary student to join a greater community of future leaders.
The Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes and supports community-committed students who are change makers and public problem-solvers at Campus Compact member institutions. Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides students with training and resources that nurture their assets and passions and help them develop strategies for social change.
IUPUI’s first Newman Civic Scholar is Kevin Sanders, an alternative break co-coordinator and Fugate Scholar within the Sam H. Jones Program, an honors student, and an important part of IUPUI’s growing community presence. Sanders’ interest in and involvement with community work began in 2016 when he participated in his first alternative break trip to Cape Charles, Virginia. While spending his spring break shoveling sand and removing trees in Cape Charles, Sanders learned about controversies surrounding conservation in state parks. From those roots, he became interested in the critical learning outcomes that alternate break trips instill in participants. He began actively serving in IUPUI outreach programs with the inspiration and passion that was growing from his interest in community impact and change.
Before long, Sanders became involved in the logistical side of alternative breaks, helping to design the specific programs and educate participants on the goals and critical conversations associated with each trip. On his most recent trip, Sanders traveled with other students to Washington, D.C., to discuss legislation and societal barriers related to the physical, emotional, and financial health of those with disabilities. He says that the most valuable component of his work has been the opportunity to take his learning outside of the classroom and use it “to create, facilitate, and lead others in learning about community engagement, critical inquiry, and active citizenship.”
Sanders’ work with Fugate Scholars led him to the classrooms of George Washington High School, where he now works to register students for vocational and academic testing while also offering his services for advising. In this way, he is helping to build future Indiana leaders and providing opportunities to incoming students to have the best college career that they can have.
Chancellor Nasser Paydar says that Sanders is “committed to advancing equitable education opportunities for everyone,” and every opportunity that Sanders had created for himself or others has demonstrated this. His hard work for his programs has built many meaningful connections for him and has given him the chance to become an influential leader to other students.
The fellowship will help him to continue his course as a leader; Sanders says that "the trainings offered by the Newman Civic Fellowship . . . are critical to my future as a community-based and civic-minded educator.” The fellowship will open doors for him to hold conversations on equity-based education, disability-related legislation, and development of community projects. As a first-generation student, Sanders says that he was once uncertain about his collegiate path, but the opportunities provided to him by IUPUI have been instrumental in his growth. “I would not be as successful an educator had I gone to a different university, nor would I be able to help extend the reputation of IUPUI as a community-focused institution of higher education.”