Southwestern Student Receives National Recognition for Civic Engagement
Alexis Kropf, a junior biology and Spanish major at Southwestern, is one of 135 students from 30 states who have been honored as the first Newman Civic Fellows by Campus Compact, a national coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents who are committed to educating students for civic and social responsibility.
College and university presidents across the country were asked to nominate promising college student leaders for the award. “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,” said Maureen Curley, the president of Campus Compact. The awards are named for Frank Newman, who was one of the founders of Campus Compact.
In her first year at Southwestern, Kropf quickly established herself as a student leader through her involvement with Students for Environmental Activism & Knowledge (SEAK) and the Southwestern chapter of Rotaract (Rotary International). She went on to serve as president of Rotaract and also revived the school’s Model UN team. After a devastating hurricane hit Haiti in January 2010, Kropf and three other students initiated the Stand With Haiti Coalition and led a fundraising effort to benefit Partners in Health in Haiti, an organization that focuses on health through community building. Her efforts as a sophomore earned her the 2010 Emerging Leader Award, which was given at the annual Student Leadership Award Banquet.
Kropf also is a participant in the prestigious Kemper Scholars Program, a scholarship-mentorship program that prepares students for leadership and service, especially in the fields of administration and business. Kemper Scholars receive annual scholarships of $3,000 to $10,000 during their sophomore, junior and senior years of college and also receive stipends to cover the cost of an internship with a major nonprofit organization in Chicago during the summer following their sophomore year.
Kropf, who intends to become a physician, also volunteers with the community garden and with the Lone Star Circle of Care community clinic system in Georgetown.
“While Southwestern University is fortunate to have a high percentage of students who are actively engaged as volunteers and activists in their communities, Alexis is exceptional for her clear commitment to public health, her ability to align her passion and education with intentional, purposeful action, and her well-honed reflexive skills that serve to constantly inform her work and leadership,” said Southwestern University Poresident Jake B. Schrum. “Without a doubt, Alexis is on a clear trajectory to become a passionate and inspiring champion of health care as a basic human right, and is destined for a life of meaningful public service.”
Suzy Pukys, director of civic engagement at Southwestern, also praised Kropf for her efforts to encourage student organizations to collaborate. She recently organized the Service Organization Coalition (SOC), which she hopes will create a way for student organization leaders to work together on projects and activities in ways that would enhance their impact, much like the Stand With Haiti project did.
“While this coalition is just beginning, it shows great promise in helping students make critical and informed choices about their civic engagement, and, by encouraging student organizations to collaborate, the coalition has the potential to build capacity among student organizations to increase the impact of their community involvement exponentially,” Pukys said.