Hope Leonard

Centenary University

It is hard to overstate the meaningful contributions that Hope has made to our university and surrounding community. In her first year, she worked to start our first student advocacy group. Through the efforts of the Action, Change, Education club, Hope led a group of campus community members to begin addressing race relations on campus and in our community. The event was a huge success with over 100 faculty, staff and students as well as 443 views via live stream. Participants, regardless of race, left with an increased respect across differences. Hope has a strong belief in spreading a message of inclusion to underrepresented students on campus.
Hope's personal strengths are as impressive as her intellectual accomplishments. Hope is an active, outgoing presence in class. As a social work major; Hope is learning about the practice-based occupation that promotes social change and development, and the empowerment and liberation of underrepresented populations. Hope's education extends beyond the classroom wherein she applies her learning through the student advocacy group as well as her role as a Resident Assistant. Hope is rooted in unwavering integrity and she has the instincts and a work ethic of a woman well beyond her years and experience.

David Haney
Centenary University

Personal Statement

As a transfer student to Centenary University in Fall 2016, one of the first aspects of the campus I noticed was the lack of political engagement or interest in the upcoming presidential election. In an effort to empower undecided voters and to interact with students across campus, I organized and moderated a mock presidential debate where students could ask candidate representatives questions while fact checkers verified the information. Since then I have run numerous programs including a legislative letter writing campaign, discussions centered around race, a voter registration drive, and a week of women's empowerment events.
My work has been focused on demonstrating to my peers how much their vote matters at the local, state, and federal levels. My interest in political activism and passion for educating populations about the less-empowered led me to become involved in this manner. I strive to challenge students, educators, and legislators to consider everyone as complex individuals rather than people to win over in an election.

Hope Leonard
Social Work with minor in Political and Governmental Affairs: Class of 2019
written 2018

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