Riding a Wave of Optimism: The Newman Civic Fellows Convening

November 22, 2016

I am riding a wave of optimism. This weekend, Campus Compact held our first national convening of Newman Civic Fellows, students nominated by their college presidents based on a demonstrated commitment to the public good. Nearly 100 Fellows gathered at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate here in Boston.

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There were students from community colleges, research universities, regional comprehensives, liberal arts colleges; public, private, and faith-based; urban, suburban, and rural. Together, the Fellows engaged in various activities to build their capacities as public problem solvers.

We will be publishing an account of the event from the perspective of a participant, so I won’t go into every detail. But I wanted to share something of the spirit of the event. Put simply, it was impossible to avoid the feeling that the future belongs to those of us who believe in an inclusive democracy. The Fellows did not all agree about everything, but they listened to each other. They were curious to understand divergent perspectives. They gravitated toward areas of shared concern and sought to identify ways their disparate efforts in their home communities could connect to and support each other.

The nomination process is now open for the 2017 class of Newman Civic Fellows, and can be found here. I cannot wait to see who they are as the nominations roll in, and I am already looking forward to meeting the next group.

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