2020 Presidents’ Award Recipients

Each president or chancellor from an Iowa or Minnesota Campus Compact member campus may select one recipient (individual or group) in each of the following three categories. See below for this year’s awardees, organized by campus. Find Minnesota awardees here.

– President’s Student Leadership Award: This award is for an individual student or a student organization that models a deep commitment to civic responsibility and leadership, evidenced by initiative, innovative and collaborative approaches to addressing public issues, effective community building, and integration of civic engagement into the college experience.

– President’s Civic Engagement Leadership Award: This award is for a member of the faculty, administration, or staff or for a group (e.g., advisory committee, task force, project team) that has significantly advanced their campus’ distinctive civic mission by forming strong partnerships, supporting others’ civic and community engagement, and working to institutionalize a culture and practice of engagement.

– President’s Community Partner Award: This award is for a community-based individual or organization that has enhanced the quality of life in the community in meaningful and measurable ways and has engaged in the development of sustained, reciprocal partnerships with the college or university, thus enriching educational as well as community outcomes.

Student Leadership: Wava Jarr

Wava Jarr is an active student leader on campus who is committed to social justice. During her time at BVU, she has applied her Education skills learned in the classroom to meet community needs. Wava developed service projects to engage her peers and found ways to build community partnerships.

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Civic Engagement Leadership: Civic Action Planning and Implementation Team

The Civic Action Planning Implementation Team has been instrumental in effectively executing BVU’s Civic Action Plan. Since 2017 the group has analyzed the campus culture, developed a plan to create change and has worked hard to make BVU and Storm Lake a better place with institutional programs and partnerships. The group includes, students, staff, faculty, and community partners.

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Community Partner: CommUnity Education

CommUnity Education is a vital community partner to BVU and many others within Storm Lake. They host hundreds of BVU students annually through internships, service projects and educational experiences. They are always willing to provide opportunities that allow students to learn and grow through letting them lead and create programs.

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Student Leadership: Michael Escobedo

Michael Escobedo is the president of the Organization of Latinx-American Students (OLAS). OLAS represents Latinx students at Central College. The group seeks to create strong bonds and a sense of community among Latinx and non-Latinx students alike on campus, in addition to hosting activities that improve society, culture, and academic life.

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Student Leadership: Mia Resa

Mia is a senior majoring in psychology. She served through AmeriCorps at local WIC clinics and in Cedar Rapids schools where she mentored and tutored students, conducted graduate-level research at Purdue University, and worked with the elderly to fight social isolation and build community. She is an Executive Member of “I’m First,” Coe’s organization for first-generation students. She received a scholarship for Excellence in the Hispanic Community and is a member of the American Association of University Women.

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Civic Engagement Leadership: Dr. Renee Penalver, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Faculty Fellow for Community Engaged Pedagogy

Dr. Renee Penalver’s work as the Faculty Fellow for Community Engagement at Coe College is largely focused on empowering the Coe and Cedar Rapids communities through increasing access to information and resources for all, and connecting people and organizations. Evidence of this has spanned her teaching, scholarship, service, and fellowship. Dr. Penalver has played a major role in touting the benefits of faculty and community partnerships while serving as a valuable resource to Coe’s faculty.

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Community Partner: Willis Dady Homeless Services

The Willis Dady Homeless Shelter partnered with students from the Ethnographic Methods course at Coe College to gain new insights into the impact of homelessness on the Cedar Rapids community. By creating a questionnaire to examine factors related to homelessness, conducting focus groups to evaluate results, and interviewing landlords to understand their perspectives on homelessness prevention, Willis Dady gained vital information as they continued to find ways to empower participants.

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Student Leadership: Brittany Freeman

Brittany is a motivated student leader whose enthusiasm for social change is exemplified through her many activities at Drake and in the community. She has served as an AmeriCorps member at Anawim Housing through the Engaged Citizen Corps Program, participated in a Social Justice Living Learning Community her sophomore year, served as President of Next Course Food Recovery, and most recently, was elected to serve on the board of Community Youth Concepts, a local nonprofit.

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Civic Engagement Leadership:  Drake University Political Visitors Team: Rachel Paine Caufield, Scott Law, Matt Miller, Jarad Bernstein, Dani Peters, and Tony Tyler

Drake University serves as the place where politics come alive! Throughout the 2020 caucus season Drake hosted dozens of town halls, rallies, and forums, a nationally televised Democratic presidential debate, a campaign event for President Trump, three Democratic caucus precincts, and was mentioned in the media 8,500 times. Hosting events requires a substantial amount of time, efforts, and planning and our Political Visitors Team provided strong leadership in managing all of our caucus events.

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Community Partner: Gregory & Susie Glazer Burt Boys & Girls Club

Drake University and the Boys & Girls Club of Central Iowa opened the Gregory & Suzie Glazer Burt Club on August 23, 2019. This is only the second Boys & Girls Club in the nation located on a private college or university campus. The Burt Club serves more than 200 youth, providing kids and teens in our community with a safe, supportive place to be after school and during the summer, and numerous educational and service opportunities for Drake students.

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Community Partner: Grinnell Education Partnership AmeriCorps Host Sites

The Grinnell Education Partnership unites nonprofits, employers, the school district, and volunteers to improve opportunities for all kids and families in Grinnell. The effort is supported by a team of AmeriCorps members embedded in community organizations and the Partnership’s host sites are the bedrock of the initiative. Embracing AmeriCorps teams, host sites have made significant contributions to members’ personal and professional development, student success, and the power of the network. 2019-20 host sites include: Drake Community Library, Grinnell Community Early Learning Center, Grinnell College Museum of Art, Grinnell-Newburg School District, LINK Grinnell, Mid-Iowa Community Action, and UnityPoint Health/Grinnell Regional Medical Center.

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Student Leadership: Beta Lambda Tau Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa

The Beta Lambda Tau chapter of Phi Theta Kappa led an electronic waste project and participated in voter education and registration efforts, including Mock Caucus training sessions. The chapter leaders are Souad (Susu) Ahmed and Raina Hogberg.

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Civic Engagement Leadership: Kirkwood Civic Engagement Team

The Civic Engagement team is responsible for voter education and registration efforts, including the Mock Caucus. They planned and celebrated Democracy Days and worked to institutionalize civic engagement during Assessment Day. They are also working on Kirkwood’s Civic Action Plan. Members are Scott Samuelson, Shelby Myers, Finn Kolsrud, John Dawson, David McMahon, Kristie Leeman, and Seth Vander Tuig.

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Student Leadership: Jump Start Coaches

Jump Start is in the second year of existence at Mount Mercy University supporting our community. The Jump Start mission is to inspire children of Cedar Rapids to reach their educational potential by teaching vital lessons in leadership and academics through the support of mentors and role models at Mount Mercy University. In the first year, the program served 27 students in the summer and one year later, served 107 students in the summer and an additional 25 students in the school year.

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Civic Engagement Leadership: Jason Pershing, Jump Start Director/Assistant Athletic Director

Jason Pershing joined Mount Mercy in 2019, immediately increasing the positive impact our Jump Start program had on students and our community. He met with countless community partners and nonprofits that served students in need, and our own Mount Mercy students to build upon the first year of the program, elevating it to new heights. He quadrupled the number of students impacted by the program, tripled the number of schools served, and even doubled the number of Mount Mercy students serving as coaches.

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Student Leadership: Amanda Stadtlander

Amanda Stadtlander embodies all of the characteristics of a servant leader through her deep and ongoing commitment to community engagement at Simpson College. Amanda is the Rotaract President and focuses on growing the on-campus service club and evaluating service projects to ensure they are mutually beneficial for all involved. Additionally, Amanda has served in a leadership role for the Wesley Service Scholar program, growing program participation to 120 students in Spring 2020.

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Civic Engagement Leadership: Dr. Heidi Levine, Vice President of Student Development

Heidi Levine brings more than 30 years of experience as a student affairs professional and educator to her leadership of Simpson’s student life programs and services. Heidi is passionate about student engagement and inclusion, as well as her belief in the transformative power of the out-of-class learning which happens from diving deeply into campus life. Most recently, Heidi has led a team to launch the Simpson Dialogue program on campus with the goal of teaching dialogue across difference.

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Community Partner: Sue Wilson, The Helping Hand of Warren County

The purpose of Helping Hand is to assist people in Warren County who need food, clothing, or household furnishings at no cost. The benefit of the program is to operate the Food Pantry for Warren County residents. Simpson College and The Helping Hand have worked together to develop a robust, mutually beneficial partnership to benefit residents of Warren County. Not only are Simpson students eligible to use their services, many are serving regularly, providing IT and food recovery support.

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Student Leadership: Emma Slagle

Emma is involved in the UNI Entrepreneurs Student Organization & the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. Along with her family and friends, she has started a nonprofit organization to build awareness of mental health needs and suicide among first responders. The organization built a clothing line, “Honor and Respect,” that gives 100% of its profits to charities in line with its mission.

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Civic Engagement Leadership: Higher Learning Commission, Quality Initiative Project (QIP) Development and Implementation Team

UNI’s HPC Quality Initiative Project (QIP), titled “Enhancing Service Learning at UNI,” was developed and implemented with strong leadership and through the dedication of many over the past several years. The HPC report concluded: “This UNI initiative has created a blueprint that other institutions could follow to establish or bolster service learning.”

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Community Partner: Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley

The Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley is integral to UNI’s advancement in community engagement and service learning. The VCCV’s partnership with UNI’s Office of Community Engagement has been instrumental in the success of strengthening and expanding UNI’s public engagement and advancing major initiatives on campus.

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