Common Cause: The Impact of Student Leadership

In this issue, we bring you stories and resources that illustrate the ways that empowering students as leaders in civic and community engagement can make a major impact on the future of our communities.

The IMPACT of Student Leadership

Morgan Goodwin, Student Engagement Coordinator at Campus Compact

Newman Civic Fellows in dialogue
Newman Civic Fellows

The student leader's voice is the heartbeat of our college campuses, and it must be amplified and empowered. Students bring a fresh perspective, unbridled energy, and a hopeful vision for the world they want to create. They possess the power to drive positive social change and shape a better future for all. However, too often in our higher education conferences, workshops, and leadership spaces, students are talked about without being in the room or talked to as leaders-in-waiting rather than listened to as leaders on their campuses and in their communities today, not just tomorrow.

Having recently attended the IMPACT 2024 conference at Stephen F. Austin State University, I've witnessed firsthand the strength of the student voice and their capacity to drive change when students are centered and trusted to lead in collective spaces. But don’t just take my word for it—hear from Student Design Fellows Jessika Crockett-Murphy and Soniy Alamdari about what student-centered spaces like IMPACT mean to them.

Soniy reflects, “Going to student-led conferences like IMPACT two years in a row has been a vital part of my college career. IMPACT has allowed me to express and share my interests and ideas surrounding student civic engagement which I bring back to my own college campus. I’ve met students from across the nation with such diverse perspectives, opinions, and ideals that I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to be exposed to.” Jessika agreed and added, “Learning about leadership in a classroom is a phenomenal way to create future leaders, but actively bringing students to these experiences is crucial for their development into successful and well-rounded civic leaders.” These are just two voices of students who have been trained, challenged, and trusted to take the lead on a national stage. There are hundreds more like them.

We have a unique opportunity to empower students as active citizens in a diverse democracy by supporting their development as engaged and informed citizens and then trusting them with opportunities to lead. By centering and trusting student voices, we can cultivate a culture of active citizenship where students are equipped to address complex societal challenges and advocate for meaningful change. Students represent the diverse fabric of our society, and it's crucial that we provide them with the tools, resources, and opportunities to fully participate in shaping our collective future into a more inclusive and vibrant democracy for generations to come.

Student Leadership In Action

Read these stories from across the country that illustrate the different ways student leaders can create powerful impact.

student design fellows

Campus Compact names seven students as Student Design Fellows

As fellows, these students will design initiatives and shape student civic leadership development experiences across the country—contributing student voice to Campus Compact’s student-focused initiatives. More →







UVA Students advocate for legislation they drafted with VA State Senator on AI

Students taking a course with the Center for Politics at UVA recently met with over 54 state senators and members of the house of delegates to advocate for legislation and share research on better understanding how we should (and shouldn’t) use artificial intelligence for positive social changeMore →




michigan community college student


Michigan Community College Association hosts inaugural student leadership retreat

Read about one student’s experience as the association brought together emerging community college student leaders from across Michigan for leadership development, trainings, and a focus on student-centered public policy.More →




Alex Edgar moderates panel


UC Berkeley Student Alex Edgar leads panel on the importance of civic learning at California Civic Learning State Summit

Panel brought together students from across the state to share their ideas for civic engagement and advocating for the common good to policymakers and other California students. More →



newman civic fellows


Students from 31 campuses earn funding to support community engagement projects

Learn more about the campuses selected to receive grants from The Allstate Foundation to create or develop programs, events, training sessions, evaluations, or projects that leave a lasting mark on their local communitiesMore →



Take action: Student leadership

Find examples, resources, and inspiration you can use when supporting student leadership efforts on your campus.
  • Register for our upcoming Civic Learning Week event, Students Centered on the Civic Stage, for a conversation with student civic changemakers on what civic initiatives, impacts, and investments they fight for today and dream for tomorrow.

  • Students: get involved! We’re seeking motivated students to share their vision for how we can improve our student civic engagement offerings and help shape the workshops, funding, resources, and opportunities Campus Compact provides student leaders. Here’s how you can contribute:

    1. Tell us about your experiences with student civic leadership and share your vision with us.

    2. Sign up to become a Student Design Ambassador for your campus. Student Design Ambassadors will have professional development opportunities to learn from and join other student leaders from across the country to make sure your voice (and voices like yours on campus) are heard. 

    3. If you have a student group or organization with innovative ideas you think we should talk to, reach out to our team at, and we may conduct a listening session just with your group to make your voice central to our visioning! 

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umass amherst campus

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