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Campus Compact Honors Students for Outstanding Civic Leadership

(5/4/2009)

BOSTON, MA – Campus Compact has selected two college students to receive the 2009 Frank Newman Leadership Award, which honors outstanding civic leadership: Leticia Burkhalter of Southeastern Oklahoma State University and Molly Hamm of Kansas State University. Both students have taken leadership roles in serving their communities while excelling academically.

Each of the winning students will receive $5,000 for school-related expenses or to support their civic work. They will also receive personal mentoring from their respective college presidents in fulfilling their scholastic, public service, and civic leadership potential during their college years. “We had an outstanding pool of applicants this year, but even among this group, these two students stand out,” notes Pam Mutascio, program asssociate at Campus Compact. “We are delighted to be able to help them achieve their academic and civic goals through the award and through mentoring on the part of their dedicated university presidents.”

Leticia Burkhalter is a working mother of five and a full-time student at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Majoring in special education, she says that her calling is to provide educational opportunities and to be an advocate for low-income families. Burkhalter has founded three sustainable community-based organizations. Families Feeding Families (FFF) is a community kitchen that serves hot meals 5 days a week. Since opening, FFF has provided more than 275,000 meals. Funded by the United Way and community donations, the organization has one full-time employee and more than 200 volunteers. The Back Pack program provides elementary school children with nutritional, kid-friendly food that doesn’t require refrigeration or preparation. Over the past year, children have received approximately 14,000 snack packs. Mommy and Me provides guidance to new mothers on interacting appropriately with their young children to facilitate their development and refers families to any necessary community services. Through community donations, the program also provides diapers and baby formula.

President Michael Turner of Southeastern Oklahoma State University praises Burkhalter’s dedication, saying, “Ticia demonstrates civic values, civic skills, and civic efficacy and commitment” that are consistent with the university’s goal of developing responsible citizenship. Burkhalter’s long-term objective is to establish a program on campus to assist low-income parents and their children. Over the next academic year, Burkhalter will meet with President Turner monthly to share knowledge and ideas related to leadership and civic engagement, and will receive guidance from campus staff on the development of the child-parent program.

Molly Hamm, a junior at Kansas State University, has spent the better part of her undergraduate experience involved in civic engagement. After being mentored by another student, Hamm learned that being in college “required much more than membership–it required a conscious and active effort to always improve anything that you touched.” Taking this to heart, she sought nonprofit leadership as her academic focus and was connected to the university’s Office of Civic Leadership, where she became a student advisor and signed on to be a part-time AmeriCorps member tutoring local children.

As the director of community and internal relations for the Kansas State Greek Community, Hamm won grant support to co-found Greeks Going Green, a nonprofit that educates fraternities and sororities on minimizing their environmental impact. Since its inception in 2008, Greeks Going Green has enlisted 14 chapters nationally. Hamm has extended her commitment to the international environmental movement as a regional coordinator for the UN Environment Programme’s Kick the Carbon Habit Education Campaign and as an intern with the United Nations Foundation, planning the first-ever Global Youth Leadership Summit on climate change.

Hamm’s commitment to education has led her to be a campus recruiter liaison for Teach for America and the service chair for the Mortar Board Senior Honor Society. She has also served on the advisory board for the K-State Center for Child Development and provided a student voice for teacher preparation programs at K-State as a member of the Teacher Education Advisory Council. In addition, as president of the Student Foundation she oversaw the K-State Proud campaign, a student-led initiative that raised more than $100,000 in student financial awards.

In the coming academic year, Hamm’s civic leadership capacities and skills will be fostered through a mentoring relationship with Kansas State’s incoming president, Dr. Kirk Schulz. This unique learning partnership will combine a first year presidency with a student leader on campus and in the community.

The Frank Newman Leadership Award
Campus Compact and the Newman family established the Frank Newman Leadership Award in honor of Campus Compact co-founder Frank Newman, a scholar who exemplified a life of public service and educational leadership. The award is designed to support and recognize students with financial need who have demonstrated civic leadership through service and scholastic achievement.
More information about the award is available here.

Campus Compact
Campus Compact is a coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents—representing some 6 million students—who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education. As the only national association dedicated to this mission, Campus Compact is a leader in building civic engagement into campus and academic life. For more information, visit http://www.compact.org.

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Service and service-learning have really helped shape my values and beliefs. I won't settle for a job; I want a career that makes a difference."

-Nickie Lora, student, Saint Anselm College