A University of Maine faculty member, two students and a campus organization were recognized for outstanding public service and civic engagement at the Maine Campus Compact’s (MCC) 13th annual Awards Ceremony on April 30 at the State House Hall of Flags in Augusta.
Robert Glover, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences-Honors preceptor and assistant professor of political science, received the Donald Harward Faculty Award for Service-Learning Excellence. Students Kimberly Dao and Bryer Sousa received the Heart and Soul Student Award, recognizing exemplary civic engagement. UMaine’s Alternative Breaks program was recognized with a President’s Campus Leadership Award. Co-presidents Kelly Covey and Morgan Kinney accepted the award.
Glover was recognized for his work in the classroom, in particular with his “Practicum in Engaged Policy Studies” class, in which students commit to a yearlong, service-learning policy research project. He was also recognized for his advocacy for service learning, as demonstrated by his efforts to develop a Citizen Scholar certificate program through the Honors program and to institutionalize an interdisciplinary minor in civic and community engagement. He also has made a regional and national impact through his writing. In partnership with UMaine faculty member Linda Silka, Glover coauthored an article in the journal Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement.
Dao and Sousa were recognized for their embodiment of heart and soul for their efforts to engage and empower peers and the community.
Last year, Dao, who has been admitted into the Maine Track Early Assurance program of Tufts University School of Medicine, established a scholarship program to offer undergraduate students financial support to help subsidize professional and personal development opportunities. This year, the senior biology major worked with the Student Women’s Association and Women’s Resource Center to bring the national Elect Her program to campus. UMaine is one of 50 campuses nationwide hosting this program. As student body president, a member of All Maine Women, and an inductee of Phi Beta Kappa, Dao is a leader. With her involvement in Black Bear Mentors, Alternative Breaks, Operation HEARTS and the UMaine chapter of Partners for World Health, Dao has demonstrated her capacity to empower others.
Sousa, a sophomore chemistry, physics and mathematics triple major, was recognized for his work to explore alternative methods of water filtration. During his first year, Bryer established a student chapter of Water for ME, an organization committed to improving public health and water systems in developing countries. He established a partner chapter with Bangor High School to increase opportunities available to aspiring high school scientists. In summer 2013, the recipient of the Davis Foundation Project for Peace grant partnered with Pure Water for the World and Water for ME to fund and install water filters for 50 households in the Trojes region of Honduras. He is a research assistant in a project to design a clean water program for people in Haiti.
UMaine’s Alternative Breaks program was honored for demonstrating the use of service as an integral part of the college experience for students, creating innovative approaches to campus-based efforts to address community issues, integrating strategies into their institutional structure and impacting the campus and surrounding community. Students at UMaine who participate in Alternative Breaks provide a range of community services, from working with underprivileged youth in Florida to environmental preservation in the Grand Canyon.
MCC, established in 1994 and hosted at Bates College, is an affiliate state office of Campus Compact, which encompasses more than 1,100 college and university presidents — representing 6 million students — dedicated to promoting community service, civic engagement and service-learning in higher education. More than 15,000 student volunteers at MCC member campuses provide 1.6 million hours of service annually, with an economic impact of more than $25 million a year.