Samantha Yates, a junior English major and Economics minor at McDaniel College is immensely passionate about community engagement, social justice and volunteerism. She is a graduate of the Baltimore Collegetown Network LeaderShape program Class Five, where she was part of a cluster team that raised awareness about human trafficking by working with a Fair Trade organization to align self-spending habits with fair-trade. LeaderShape graduates learn how to connect civic engagement with social change efforts, and bring this knowledge back to their campuses. Samantha did this by creating and receiving a grant to begin a composting project with food from the Dining Hall and other McDaniel students working together to enhance the College's goal of using more local food sources, and eliminating waste on campus. She is a recipient of the Duke of Edinburgh's Bronze Award, to qualify for this award students complete a four-step self-development program dedicated to achievement in community service, physical fitness, special skills, and adventurous journey. Samantha serves as an Engagement Peer in the Office of Student Engagement where she works to support student organizations on their goals, projects and programs, which included helping Green Life, an environmental action group, on their local food to table drive during the Spring 2015 semester. Samantha's leadership style encourages collaboration and motivates others to make a positive difference in the community. Samantha also serves as an intern for Phi Beta Kappa Society where she writes news stories about issues facing college students in higher education today for the "Key Reporter". Her first column focused on mental heath awareness on college campuses. Samantha makes service an integral component of her college experience and she continues to lead by example. Through these efforts, she demonstrates her commitment to the mission of McDaniel College and the spirit of the Newman Civic Fellow Award.
I believe that community is essential, because very little ever gets done by individuals without support from a larger group. I certainly would not have gotten very far in education, leadership positions, etc., without the encouragement of those around me. Community service is then my way of giving back to those who encourage others and myself. Community service is also a great way to work to make small changes in issues that surround us; large scale-projects are difficult to create and implement, and so small-scale community service is very important to me because I think that the small changes really add up to larger social change. Finally, social justice is integral to my world vision. Performing community service without the goal of advancing those with disadvantages or the hope to right long-standing wrongs committed is doing service for the benefit of making yourself feel better. Social Justice is the reason to perform community service, and there is nothing more rewarding than this work-striving to create a difference in something larger than oneself.