Michaela Campbell, a junior at Providence College, is a student leader active in addressing issues of social justice. For the last two years as a Feinstein Community Fellow with Sophia Academy, Michaela co-facilitated the eighth grade seminar class on social justice based community organizing and guided students and families through the high school application process. In the classroom, she built relationships with students and was offered a window into their life as young women from low-income families who aspire to lead change in Providence and beyond. In one-on-one meetings with students and families, Michaela learned of the systemic challenges students face to simply pursue their right to an education, all while she pursued a high-quality education just ten miles north. Through this transformational engagement and her own reflection at Fellows meetings, as President of the Society Organized Against Racism (SOAR); a member of the Dialogue, Inclusion, Democracy Lab; and an Orientation Leader for first-year students, Michaela's understanding of service has expanded to not only help provide tangible solutions to injustice, but also combat and dismantle the root causes of injustice, like racism and discrimination, through less tangible solutions— reflection, education, reparation, dialogue and policy change.
Growing up, seemingly simple values of compassion and empathy were instilled in me by my parents. Prior to enrolling at Providence College, I served with the Holliston Pantry Shelf, a local champion of food security, as a Student Board Member and Volunteer; and with Project 351, a transformational nonprofit organization celebrating youth service and leadership, as an Ambassador. In these roles, my understanding of service has expanded to not only help provide tangible solutions to injustice, but also combat and dismantle the root causes of injustice, like racism and discrimination, through less tangible solutions— reflection, education, reparation, dialogue and policy change. As our global community continues to be driven by polarization, hatred, and inequity, it often feels like there is not enough we can do to ignite impactful social change. While change requires many steps, I believe it begins with a foundation of values that prioritizes dignity, celebrates differences, and fosters unity. It is when these seemingly simple, foundational values like compassion and empathy are put into action on a consistent basis, whether it be in the form of conversation, donation, or reflection, that powerful impact is ignited.