Campus Compact has named Anna Gillespie '24 a recipient of a Newman Civic Fellowship, which recognizes and supports community-oriented students and is named for Frank Newman, a founder of Campus Compact.
Campus Compact, a Boston-based nonprofit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education, has selected Anna Gillespie ’24 to participate as a Newman Civic Fellow. Gillespie will join 212 students from 39 states, Washington, D.C., and Mexico to form the 2021-22 cohort of fellows.
The Newman Civic Fellowship is a year-long program for students from Campus Compact member institutions. The students selected for the fellowship are leaders on their campuses who demonstrate a commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities locally, nationally, and internationally.
Gillespie is majoring in political science with a concentration in international politics and in policy studies with a concentration in economic policy. Gillespie says that researching the 2016 presidential election sparked in her a passion to combat systemic voter suppression in the United States.
“For over a half-century, all Americans have had the right to vote,” Gillespie said in her personal statement for the fellowship. “However, barriers to voting in low-income areas and the failure to make Election Day a national holiday present unnecessary obstacles to one of our civic responsibilities as American citizens. These obstacles affect people of color at an astronomically higher rate than the rest of the populace, a consequence of centuries of systemic racism.”
Gillespie has lobbied state lawmakers in her home state of Virginia to pass legislation to make mail-in voting more accessible and has worked to register voters in Elon and Alamance County. “As college students, we can educate ourselves about issues we may not be exposed to in our personal lives, engage in dynamic conversation, and go out into our communities with strategies to reform these systems at the state and local level, creating an America with truly free and fair elections,” Gillespie said.
The fellowship is named for the late Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders, who was a tireless advocate for civic engagement in higher education. In the spirit of Dr. Newman’s leadership, Campus Compact member presidents and chancellors nominate student leaders from their campuses to be named Newman Civic Fellows.
In her nomination of Gillespie for the fellowship, Elon President Connie Ledoux Book noted that Gillespie has quickly emerged as a rising star in civic engagement at the university. “As a relatively new member of the Elon community, Anna already holds a leadership position with our Elon Votes! team as a Voting Ambassador, working to facilitate opportunities for her peers to register to vote and to cast their ballots during the November election,” Book wrote. “As she continues in this role, I am confident she will do much to deepen civic engagement work on our campus.”
Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides Fellows with a variety of learning and networking opportunities that emphasize personal, professional, and civic growth. Each year, fellows participate in numerous virtual training and networking opportunities to help provide them with the skills and connections they need to create large-scale positive change. The cornerstone of the fellowship is the Annual Convening of Fellows, which offers intensive skill-building and networking over the course of two days. The fellowship also provides fellows with pathways to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.
“We are proud to recognize these extraordinary student leaders and thrilled to engage with them,” said Campus Compact President Andrew Seligsohn. “The experience of the last year has driven home to all of us that we need open-minded, innovative, public-spirited thinkers and doers. That is what Campus Compact is about, and the stories of our Newman Civic Fellows demonstrate it’s who they are.”
Learn more at compact.org/newman-civic-fellowship. You can read more about each of the student leaders selected for this year’s cohort at compact.org/newman-civic-fellowship/2021-2022-newman-civic-fellows.
Campus Compact is a national coalition of colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. Campus Compact supports institutions in fulfilling their public purposes by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. As the largest national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, we provide professional development to administrators and faculty to enable them to engage effectively, facilitate national partnerships connecting campuses with key issues in their local communities, build pilot programs to test and refine promising models in engaged teaching and scholarship, celebrate and cultivate student civic leadership, and convene higher education institutions and partners beyond higher education to share knowledge and develop collective capacity. Visit www.compact.org.