Riley displays her dedication to civic engagement through various campus activities and leadership positions she holds here at Auburn. Rylie currently serves as president of the Community and Civic Engagement Club where she actively works to strengthen relationships between Auburn University and the surrounding communities of Auburn and Opelika. Throughout the school year, Rylie has helped organize and oversee several club projects promoting sustainable student-to-community partnerships.
In the fall of 2016, Rylie participated in an Appalachian Teaching Project focusing on developing students as citizens in Macon County. Rylie, along with other Auburn students, led classroom activities on civic engagement and professional development in sixth-grade classes at Tuskegee Public School and Notasulga School. The work that Rylie and others did on this project culminated in a successful presentation at the Appalachian Teaching Project in December of 2016. As a community and civic engagement minor, Rylie exemplifies the College of Liberal Arts' mission in that students have an understanding of the human condition, a respect for individual and cultural differences, and a desire for the free exchange of ideas.
In sum, Rylie serves as a model of a civic-minded individual working towards creating positive social change for a more democratic world. For all of these reasons and more, we are proud to offer Rylie Gay as our nominee for the 2017 Newman Civic Fellows Award.
I have always strived to live by my personal philosophy that the only reason each of us was put on the Earth was to make a positive impact on it, and I have always believed that empowering others to improve is the best way to make your impact permanent. I always volunteered in my community growing up, but after coming to college I realized just how much help some of these communities need. Through my participation in the Appalachian Teaching Project last semester, I could witness firsthand what a suffering community looks like. I was able to participate in the important conversation about how we can help empower these communities to improve themselves in a sustainable way. This idea of empowering a community to change rather than going in and changing it ourselves is vital to making the improvements last. I look forward to continuing this work in the community and civic engagement minor.