Trenton Ebel, a junior at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay, epitomizes the problem-focused, interdisciplinary learning our campus values, as well as the core principles and commitments of the Fellowship program, and will no doubt leave a lasting impression on this campus and community. Mr. Ebel is personally passionate about overcoming the bitter partisan divides in the United States. His interest in overcoming partisanship emerges in part from his background working in faith-based volunteering and non-profits, which also awakened a passion for racial justice. He’s worked in electoral politics and also as a mentor in the Green Bay Public Schools Upward Bound program. His combination of coursework, majors, and minors, in Spanish, German, as well as Democracy and Justice Studies offer a unique set of political and social skills, as does his commitment to the region of the Midwest.
I believe that what little we may have in life doesn’t matter so much as the lives we’ve touched with it. The biggest reason I wanted to engage in something like the Newman Fellowship is because I believe we’ve lost our sense of what America stands for. I became involved first by door-knocking around the local campus community when I arrived in college. I also tried to encourage people around me to become socially active. but history as a subject instilled me with a passion to contribute what little I could to America’s patchwork of hardy, intrepid, but imperfect explorers and innovators and this pedestal on which many of my heroes, especially the Presidents, sit, allowed me to shape my beliefs and improve them. This idyllic picture is long changed, but I believe that we can overcome political polarization by reminding everyday voters that they matter. It takes nothing more than meeting with them and advocating for their issues when we take time to engage and understand them, especially through mentoring the next generation and giving them something to believe in. We can overcome anything that comes after us. It begins in the local communities and spreads from there.