Allison Valentine, Southern New Hampshire University
Within days of arriving at Southern New Hampshire University, Allison was seeking ways to get involved in her new community. By the end of the first week she had joined the community service club- The Outreach Association- and become an integral part of the committee planning events for Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. It’s notable when a first-year student is willing to take on a leadership role so quickly, but once you get to know Alli you learn that taking initiative, caring passionately, and leading others for social change is part of who she is.
What is most impressive about Allison is how she has woven civic engagement into every piece of her SNHU experience. She has held positions at Foodshare, Inc as a Community Engagement intern and Families in Transition as a Special Events intern. She has remained incredibly active in the Outreach Association for the past three years, volunteering in the community multiple times a month and participating in awareness and advocacy events on campus. She spends her school breaks volunteering at the Zion Lutheran Church Food Pantry in her hometown and has twice been chosen to represent SNHU at the annual IMPACT Conference where she has learned how to raise awareness, serve, and advocate for solutions to the issues for which she is most passionate.
Alli spent two weeks on an alternative break trip to the Dominican Republic where she worked with a group of SNHU students to teach English to Spanish-speaking children in a rural village school. While preparing for the trip Alli planned a fundraising event at her church. She asked for monetary and school supply donations to benefit Outreach 360, the organization she would be working with. While many students plan personal fundraisers for their individual trip costs, it’s unusual for a student to take such initiative to benefit the community organization.
-Dr. Paul LeBlanc, President
At a young age, life showed me some highs and lows starting with my parent’s divorce. This taught me that life is not always fair and I must to look on the positive side of all I have been given and help others who are less fortunate than I. Through my awareness, advocacy and service that I have completed in my time at SNHU through service trips, class work, and internship experience, I have been able to not only inform others in the SNHU community, but how to make implement change. Change cannot begin until community, group and individual values align. Collaborating with individuals and organizations that are tackling specific social issues, and understanding the variables and deeper meanings can pinpoint the issue at the core. My teacher and mentor, Elizabeth Richards taught me that to enact social change, you must make it a priority in all aspects of your life; which is something I strive for each day.