Mallory Gardiner is a third year student at Loras College. As a leader, activist and advocate, she has served throughout her college career to address local issues in Dubuque, Iowa, related to diversity, equity and inclusion. Mallory’s involvement in this service soon led to her appointment to the City of Dubuque Human Rights Commission in 2020. She started serving her first year at Loras with the City of Dubuque as a volunteer and then as an Iowa College AmeriCorps member through a strategic partnership with Iowa Campus Compact, Loras College and the City of Dubuque Human Rights Department. Currently, she continues to serve in this role and has collaborated with staff to develop training materials for fellow students designed to educate them about issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion. Since the fall of 2019, Mallory has trained 40 students in the Loras College Civic Leaders program, preparing them to engage in service projects focused on issues of equity and inclusion throughout Dubuque. City and College staff, in collaboration with Mallory and other interns she has trained and mentored are currently looking into ways to make the training accessible to youth throughout Dubuque and throughout the Tristate area.
From a young age, my grandmother taught me that civic engagement is love. Engagement is the love you have for your community and the people within it, regardless of divisions. At that time, love looked like picking up trash along the road or planting flowers along the street. As I grow, my love has become a focal point. Engagement becomes a facet for innovation and resourcefulness through initiatives like Civic Leaders and the Human Rights Department. Love molds projects like sending college students into the community to progress equity and opportunity within marginalized. We serve alongside them as partners, friends focused on change and progress. Other projects I have done through the Human Rights Department includes the facilitation of an immigration resource fair and creation of an expandable Equity and Emotional Intelligence training to college students. Love creates relationships within the City of Dubuque and the people they serve. We must always ask ourselves, how will we serve the people if we do not know who they are? I believe that a society is only as strong as our most vulnerable, and I have chosen to dedicate my life to those very individuals with love and civic engagement.