Annie Manges, a rising senior and member of the premier scholarship program at Appalachian State University, is a student leader active in addressing issues of community development, leading teams of students in shared goals to make the community more positive and resilient. For the last two years she has served as a member of the impACT Team, leading efforts to educate herself and her peers on issues of racial equity and hunger and homelessness in the High Country. Annie’s current interests lie in international economic development with a focus on alternative economic strategies. She hopes that the experience as a Newman Civic Fellow will equip her with more knowledge of how to create social change. Specifically, Annie is interested in the practical application of locking wealth in place and keeping it local, as well as the application of community organizing and design thinking.
I was first exposed to the importance of community leadership in high school, when I started a club at my school that worked with the refugee resettlement agencies of my hometown, Charlotte NC, and tutored ESL students. Once I got to App state, I further developed an understanding of why communities need local leaders in order to build resilience and generate positive development. My involvement in the Appalachian and the Community Together (ACT) Office has provided me many leadership opportunities surrounding alternative development, and has allowed me to be very involved in service, advocacy, and fundraising for many different issues of need in our Boone community. I am interested in how community leaders can utilize alternative economic practices to seek a more bottom-up development approach and focus on legitimate community needs. My studies focus on International Economic Development and the influence of unjust power dynamics in today’s economic and social patterns. Through my work on both the ACT Team and International Appalachian (INTAPP), an on-campus organization that works with international students, I have been able to work toward these goals and engage in community development in a leadership position.