Westminster Junior Named National Fellow for Commitment to Changing the World

One Westminster junior’s passionate advocacy for improving global healthcare has won her a Newman Civic Fellows Award.

Sandra Nivyabandi from Bujumbura, Burundi, has been notified by the United States coalition of college and university presidents, Campus Compact, that she has received this national award which honors inspiring college student leaders who have demonstrated their investment in finding solutions to the challenges that face communities throughout America.

Sandra’s major, global health and transnational studies, stems from her commitment to become an international advocate for equal opportunity healthcare in her home country.  She is in the Westminster Honors Program and is currently a member of the Student Ambassadors, a certified peer health educator, secretary of Amnesty International, and Vice President of the French Club.

As a freshman, she was elected Service Chair of the Spiritual Life Student Committee and dedicated her campus campaign to looking at the intersection of service and faith in the context of responding to community need.

She has been a primary leader in the Westminster Bright Light campaign to bring solar study lights and a school library to the students in the village of Gashanda in Rwanda.  She has been a residential assistant for the past two years.

This year she has worked with Dr. Bob Hansen, Executive Director of the Emerson Center for Leadership & Service, to spearhead an independent study on global healthcare and will be co-leading a trip to Rwanda and Tanzania, the Humanity for Children Project, to bring humanitarian assistance to the countries during the summer months.

“Whenever she recognizes a need, Sandra affects change by building a community of believers,” says Dr. Hansen.  “Her leadership on our campus truly reflects our mission of service-driven learning.  We are hopeful for the future as her steadfast compassion for the people she serves and her dedication to finding sustainable solutions inspires action in everyone she meets.”

Newman Civic Fellows are nominated by college and university presidents to acknowledge motivation and ability in public leadership.  Named for Dr. Frank Newman, who founded Campus Compact and was President of the Education Commission of the States, these awards honor college student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country.  Through service, research, and advocacy, they make the most of their college experiences to better understand themselves, the root causes of social issues, and effective mechanisms for creating lasting change.

“These students represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders,” says Dr. Hansen.  “They serve as national examples of the role that higher education can, and does, play in building a better world.”

Newman Civic Fellows will form a unique network of leaders who will inspire and keep hope alive for one another during college and afterward, as the network expands exponentially each year.

Campus Compact, which sponsors the Newman Civic Fellows, is a national coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education.  It is the only national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement.

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