Valparaiso University sophomore Caleb Rollins, of Bloomington, Minn., has been named a 2013 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact for demonstrating outstanding leadership and civic engagement.
Nominated by their college and university presidents, 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 stronger communities,” said Campus Compact President Maureen Curley.
Campus Compact is a national coalition of college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education by promoting public and community service that develops students’ citizenship skills. The organization’s Newman Civic Fellows are awarded in memory of Dr. Frank Newman, a founder of Campus Compact, who dedicated his life to creating systemic change through education reform. At the core of Newman’s leadership was a belief in the power of individuals to make a difference and in the power of connection with others.
“I am honored to be identified as a 2013 Newman Civic Fellow,” Rollins said. “I am very appreciative of the recognition of my service, philanthropy and civic engagement, but I also view this honor as a challenge to improve the work that I am doing and rally other students around these causes.”
As a Christ College scholar and an international service major with a minor in philanthropic leadership and service, Rollins is truly passionate about social justice and is gaining an education at Valpo that will prepare him for a career in the nonprofit sector. Rollins plans to study social justice and community development in Namibia during the fall 2013 semester.
“I am proud to say that Valpo is my home,” Rollins said. “This place has afforded me so many opportunities to explore my vocation and I know that it still has more to offer me. I am amazed at the intersection of my academic and co-curricular pursuits in this community, and I expect that this will also happen when I study in Namibia and South Africa in the fall and get to experience the African cultures and societies that I have studied in Northwest Indiana.”
Like many Valpo students, Rollins is not only a dedicated student but is also involved with several extra-curricular and co-curricular activities. He is actively engaged with the ministries of Valpo’s Chapel of the Resurrection, including the Lutheran Malaria Initiative student team and the Social Action Leadership Team (SALT). Rollins has held leadership positions in SALT’s World Relief Campaigns for the past two years and will be the chair of the Campaign for the 2013-2014 academic year.
“At Valpo, we hope that students will educate themselves not just for a job but for a life of purpose, leadership and service,” said Elizabeth Lynn, Director of Valparaiso University’s Institute for Leadership and Service. “Caleb embodies that hope: he is a remarkably thoughtful young man who is using his Valpo experience both to better understand the challenges facing our world and to forge a vocational path that will allow him to make meaningful change and lead others to do the same.”
Rollins is also a tutor at a local elementary school through Valpo’s Study Buddy tutor/mentor program and works as a research assistant in Valpo’s new Institute for Leadership and Service, where he interviews students and leaders of student organizations who participate in service and philanthropy on campus. Rollins said that his extra-curricular and co-curricular involvement allows him to put the theories of service and philanthropy that he learns in the classroom into practice in the real world.
After graduation, Rollins hopes to enroll in a short-term program such as Teach for America or the Fulbright Program, before he begins a career in the nonprofit sector working with a faith-based organization.
The Newman Civic Fellows Awards are made possible through the generous support of the KPMG Foundation. A full list of the 2013 Newman Civic Fellows is available on www.compact.org.
For more information about Valparaiso University’s dedication to leadership and service, contact Nicole Niemi at 219.464.6010 or Nicole.Niemi@valpo.edu.