Freshman Receives National Civic Engagement Award

Isabelle Runge, a freshman at Palm Beach Atlantic University from Altamonte Springs, Florida, has been selected to receive the 2016 Newman Civic Fellows Award from the Campus Compact, a Boston-based non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education.

Runge was one of 218 students nationally recognized for the award that honors the late Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders and a tireless advocate for the civic engagement of higher education.

“I see that every individual is created by God with distinct talents, gifts, and abilities. I do not believe that a person's life should be defined or limited by the economic circumstances they were born into,” said Runge, a psychology major. “Through founding Kingdom Courts, I started to act out that belief, by making sure that children and teenagers in impoverished urban areas, could play at a basketball court that was as nice as the courts that I got to play on daily.

“Volunteering has not just changed the communities that I have worked in, but it has also changed me,” Runge said. “Volunteering has become the tangible display of the compassion I feel towards others.”

In the spirit of Dr. Newman’s leadership, Campus Compact member presidents and chancellors were encouraged to nominate undergraduate or graduate students who are proven leaders with both the motivation and ability to make substantial contributions toward public problem solving for this special recognition.

“From the time that I met Isabelle Runge, at her incoming freshman orientation, I was impressed with her,” said Palm Beach Atlantic University President William M.B. Fleming, Jr. “Before even moving into her residence hall, she wanted to know how to get involved in the wider Palm Beach County community.”

Those chosen to receive this honor also have taken action in pursuit of long-term positive social change. A complete list of the 2016 Newman Civic Fellows, which is supported by the KPMG Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation, can be found here.

Campus Compact 2016 Newman Civic Fellows will represent their higher education institution in a national group of student leaders. These students will receive an award certificate and an invitation to join the Newman Civic Fellows online network. They will also be featured prominently on the Campus Compact national website and, in many cases, invited to participate in state-specific activities.

“We are fortunate to have the opportunity to celebrate such an extraordinary group of students,” said Campus Compact president Andrew Seligsohn. “We are seeing resurgence in student interest in acting to create lasting social change, and this year’s Newman Civic Fellows exemplify that commitment.”

Campus Compact is a nonprofit coalition of nearly 1,100 college and university presidents— representing some 6 million students—who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education. As the only national association dedicated to this mission, Campus Compact is a leader in building community engagement into campus and academic life. For more information, visit www.compact.org or follow @Campus_Compact on Twitter.