SALT LAKE CITY – Westminster student Jerika Michel was one of only 135 students nationwide to be honored with a Newman Civic Fellow Award from Campus Compact this month. Camps Compact is a national organization that aims to improve community life and to promote student engagement in civic and social responsibility. The Newman Civic Fellows Awards recognizes inspiring college student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country. From 30 states, college and university presidents have nominated the best-of-the-best: promising college student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country. Through service, research, and advocacy, these Newman Civic Fellows 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.
“These students represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders. They serve as national examples of the role that higher education can—and does play in building a better world,” explains Campus Compact President Maureen F. Curley. Michel helps refugee teens cope with “real life situations” by working with them on issues like financial literacy, college preparation, and important social skills. As the alumni leader for the 2011 Youthlinc Kenya Team, she is also actively involved in a variety of educational, vocational, construction, and cultural exchange projects.
“I am touched that Westminster College nominated me to receive an award that truly recognizes my efforts in social justice,” Michel said. “Service has changed how I view the world. Through service I have gained a deeper understanding of how global issues affect individuals on an intimate level. Furthermore, my perspective concerning how to empower those individuals has been broadened.” Michel also belongs to the Salt Lake Rotary Club; she is the Service Coordinator for the Westminster College Institute of Religion, and is a Trustee of the Michel Foundation serving Utah Youth and other worthy organizations locally.
“On a personal level, service has increased my ability to love,” Michel continued. “I do service because it makes me happy. I believe that service is an intricate part of education because it gives meaning to learning and hope for a more just world.”