In 2015, as a sophomore at California State University, Fresno State, I presented at the Campus Compact Western Region Continuum of Service conference (COS). I presented along side a group of student ambassadors from the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Service-Learning and Community Engagement. After presenting, I asked myself “why would so many people want to hear about civic engagement, our working styles as student leaders, or our recruitment strategies to keep students interested in being civically engaged?”
Fast forward to now, 2019, I am a Newman’s Own Foundation Fellow placed at Campus Compact in Boston, Massachusetts, where I am the Philanthropy and Impact Fellow. I had the opportunity to attend the COS conference once again, but this time, I was representing Campus Compact as a Newman’s Own Foundation Fellow; an employee, not a student. I was able to reflect on the initial question I had asked myself back in 2015, and I now understand why it is important to be part of these conferences. They allow us to come together to share ideas of what is happening around our institutions and community. It allows me to be part of a larger vision for higher education, and to see a new light in my journey as a young professional for that change.
During my eight months at Campus Compact, I have already seen tremendous professional growth in my ability to build relationships, and adapt to a new city all while maintaining a work-life balance. The highlight of my Fellowship year so far has been the opportunity to plan an annual Convening for Newman Civic Fellows. The convening is an annual conference for current Newman Civic Fellows. This past November in 2018, we partnered with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United State Senate and the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, MA to provide networking opportunity, collaboration and shared learning. Our fellows were able to engage in a workshop on Organizing for Positive Change and engage in a Senate simulation on the U.S Food Policy: The Farm Bill.
The convening was a huge success and I felt that same light guiding me along my professional career path, which I know now is leading me into higher education. I want to create change, bigger than myself; change for the future leaders of tomorrow. Embracing multiple ways of knowing and being within my work at Campus Compact has helped me weld together the passions I have for serving my community, while embracing my culture and identity.
As an aspiring higher education professional, I will continue to seek to understand. I will continue to reach past my own borders, and learn about other identities to promote an inclusive world. A world, where I hope one day, we will live beyond borders, and embrace multiple ways of knowing and being.
By Evelyn Gonzalez, NOF Fellow at Campus Compact, Boston, MA