Campus Compact has named 181 student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country as 2013 Newman Civic Fellows. Among the honorees is Flathead Valley Community College student Ruth Rickenbacher of Bigfork. Nominated by their college and university presidents, these students are making the most of their college experiences to better understand themselves, the root causes of social issues, and effective mechanisms for creating lasting change.
A sophomore studying biology at FVCC, Rickenbacher exemplifies the definition of a volunteer. A mother of two boys, she commutes 54 miles a day to FVCC where she attends full-time and is an honors student. In 2011, Rickenbacher took on the leadership role as Renewable Resources Club coordinator. In this capacity, she championed recycling and waste reduction on the college’s campus and enlisted volunteers to educate the campus community about renewable resources and the importance of sustaining them. Additionally, she pioneered a number of new initiatives including clothing swap events, organized carpools, educational workshops, and a community-wide week-long Earth Matters celebration event.
As the current assistant editor of “The Mercury News,” FVCC’s student newspaper, Rickenbacher continues to promote volunteerism and campus involvement by recognizing students and student organizations that dedicate their time and energy to support the community. She also exercises her platform to endorse AmeriCorps and service learning opportunities, encouraging others to make a difference.
“We are fortunate to have such a dedicated, passionate student who is committed to making a difference in the lives of others in order to better our community,” said FVCC President Jane Karas.
According to National Campus Compact President Maureen Curley, Newman Civic Fellows provide fresh energy and perspective, inspire and mobilize others, and develop their own skills and potential while tackling community challenges.
“These students represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders,” said Curley. “They serve as national examples of the role that higher education can—and does—play in building stronger communities.”
Newman Civic Fellow awards are made in memory of Dr. Frank Newman, a founder of Campus Compact. Newman dedicated his life to creating systemic change through education reform and left a lasting impact on American education and its role in the development of citizens who want to make a difference.
Campus Compact is a national coalition of almost 1,200 college and university presidents, representing more than 6 million students, who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. For more information about the organization and the award, visit www.compact.org.