Southwestern University Student Honored as Newman Civic Fellow
March 22, 2022
March 22, 2022
Campus Compact, national coalition of colleges and universities working to advance the public purposes of higher education, has named 173 student civic leaders who will make up the organization’s 2022-2023 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows. Southwestern’sEugenia Agobe ’23 will join students from 38 states, Washington, D.C., and Mexico to form the cohort.
The Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes students who stand out for their commitment to creating positive change in communities locally and around the world. 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, fellows are nominated by Campus Compact member presidents and chancellors, who are invited to select one outstanding student from their campus each year.
Agobe, a daughter of a Nigerian immigrant, has always always had a passion for the promise of democracy. After creating a nonpartisan, bilingual voter education site for Southwestern’s campus during the 2020 election, she noticed many students—especially those from marginalized communities—found voting inaccessible.
“I wanted to make civic engagement a part of the conversation from the moment students set foot on campus, so they felt empowered to use their voices,” Agobe said.
In collaboration with SU’s voting coalition and the Office of Diversity Education, she proposed and implemented programs for new student seminars—one based on equity and inclusion, the other on increasing civic engagement—that were widely adopted by faculty. She helped create a standardized presentation about the value of democratic participation and the logistics of submitting voter registration forms, and gave students resources to find polling places and ballot information. She also applied for and received a grant to provide SU’s coalition with funds for outreach during the 2022 midterms.
“These experiences taught me that change comes only by first listening to your community’s needs. Situated in the liminal space between the theoretical and the practical, I seek to turn my core values of equity, inclusion, and empowerment into lasting change.”
Through the fellowship, Campus Compact will provide these students with a year 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.
“Eugenia is passionate about engaging her generation in political processes,” said Southwestern President Laura Skandera Trombley. “She is actively involved in campus-wide efforts to promote voter education, registration, and participation at Southwestern. She believes that it is critically important for young people to be well informed and highly engaged in democratic processes.”
“We are proud to name such an outstanding and diverse group of students Newman Civic Fellows,” said Campus Compact President Bobbie Laur. “Their passion and resolve to take action on the wide range of issues challenging our neighborhoods and communities is inspiring and deeply needed. We cannot wait to engage with them through this transformative experience.”