Alianna Belknap, a member of George Washington University's Class of 2019, is an active student leader of the Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service and member of GW's Civic House program. She mentors at-risk youth in the Washington, DC community through the US Dream Academy, a non-profit that supports children of incarcerated parents to realize their dreams. She has tremendous potential to bring about social change and work to remedy the effects of poverty and inequity. Her commitment to service both in her co-curricular activities and her academic coursework demonstrates that Alainna is driven to serve others and promote an understanding of social justice.
Civic engagement has always been central to my identity and purpose. My first encounter with tragedy as a high school freshman urged me to confront the issue of bullying in my community by organizing an advocacy group called Take a Stand, where over 200 students played a role in changing the bullying culture of our school. Later, while serving as Student Council Vice President, I organized a civic demonstration against the use of Styrofoam trays in our district by collecting a week's worth of trays to display and successfully petitioning our school board. Last summer, I was delighted to register folks in my town to vote in an effort to amplify the voices of our widely diverse town against our outspokenly racist town supervisor. My passion for serving my community has followed me to my new home in DC, where I mentor children impacted by incarceration with the US Dream Academy. I'm honored to be a member of Civic House, a group of freshmen at GW who live together and serve the DC community as a team. My space in this world has always been defined by my ability to encourage collective action in those around me; I simply couldn't imagine my college experience without these opportunities to do exactly that.