With a passion to combat social justice issues in the U.S., sophomore Hannah Gibbs will have the opportunity to learn ways to effect change in communities as a Newman Civic Fellow with Campus Connect.
Gibbs has had a variety of service and social justice experience with organizations like Relay for Life, as well as the work she has done through the Bonner Program at Centre College.
The yearlong fellowship recognizes and supports community-committed students who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities.
“It is her leadership, commitment to collaboration and deep awareness of the need for long-term solutions to social inequality that make her an exceptionally qualified candidate for the Newman Civic Fellowship,” said Assistant Director of Center for Teaching and Learning Ellen Prusinski, experiential learning coordinator and assistant professor of education.
During the fellowship, Gibbs will mainly be fostering connections between the other fellows.
“Since we are spread over so many campuses, many of these things are done in digital discussions and forums in which we are invited to participate,” Gibbs said.
This fellowship gives her the chance to interact with others who have shared interests and a similar investment in service that she has.
“They are people who are doing incredible things and fighting against massive systemic issues that seem far more manageable with a group of people doing concentrated, albeit dissociated, action to oppose it,” she continued.
For Gibbs, one of her passions is environmental justice and seeing people across several states addressing the same issues and concerns she has.
“Hannah is the sort of natural born leader one encounters rarely in a lifetime,” Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies Matthew Klooster said, who will serve as Gibbs’s mentor during the program.
“Her personal fortitude and dedication to making the world a better place have synergistically culminated in effective leadership that is actively combating social and environmental injustices in our community. The Newman Civic Fellowship will play a fundamental role in helping her actualize her true potential and continue to cultivate her civic leadership skills. ”
In November, Gibbs hopes to have the opportunity to attend a national conference that will provide opportunities to interact with other fellows.
“I am looking forward to, hopefully, attending the national conference and taking full advantage of what the program offers, as well as bringing those things back to Centre and using what I have learned to further better the campus and greater Danville community,” she explained.
After the program, she will have access to resources through Campus Connect and other fellows.
“It is a massive networking resource designed to stay in place even after the fellowship is over,” she said.
When she completes the program, she plans to continue service work in a better and greater capacity than she is now.
by Kerry Steinhofer
April 28, 2017