MACON – Mercer University junior Ivy Clarke is among 212 students from 39 states, Washington, D.C. and Mexico who make up this year’s cohort of Newman Civic Fellows.
Campus Compact, a Boston-based nonprofit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education, organizes the yearlong fellowship for its member institutions.
Fellows are leaders on their campuses who demonstrate a commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities locally, nationally and internationally. Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides students with training and resources that nurture their assets and passions and help them develop strategies for social change.
Clarke, an English literature and creative writing double-major from San Antonio, Texas, is passionate about elevating underrepresented voices through the arts. An active campus and community volunteer, she plans to empower local high school students through facilitated poetry workshops.
With a planned pilot implementation in academic year 2021-22, local high school students will participate in weekly poetry workshops that will focus on written and spoken word poetry. Clarke will help them pursue dissemination opportunities, such as poetry readings, competitions and publishing venues, empowering participants to let their voices be heard. She will work closely with Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing Chelsea Rathburn, who also serves as Georgia’s poet laureate, and other professors and students to develop a successful and sustainable workshop.
“Ivy has designed a thoughtful response to an educational need in our community. What is particularly impressive about Ivy is that she continues to seek out new, collaborative ways to help others, and she proactively learns the skills and information that she needs to carry out her service vision,” said Dr. Kathryn Kloepper, vice provost of engaged learning and director of Research That Reaches Out at Mercer. “The additional mentoring she will receive from Professor Rathburn and Campus Compact as a Newman Civic Fellow will only elevate her work further, and I am excited to see the implementation of these poetry workshops in the fall.”
At Mercer, Clarke has served as a writing tutor and Arts and Culture section editor of The Cluster student newspaper. She has also held editorial internships with both Macon Magazine and Mercer University Press.
“It is a great honor to be selected as a 2021 Newman Civic Fellow,” said Clarke. “I am so excited to continue working towards a more equitable, representational literary field, and to affirm the power of creative writing as a tool for self- and community-empowerment. I am incredibly appreciative of the support and mentorship I have received from Dr. (Amy) Nichols-Belo, Dr. (Mary Alice) Morgan, Professor Rathburn, and my workshop co-facilitator, Ashley Pemberton, as well as the several other Mercer faculty and staff who have encouraged me in this pursuit.”
The Newman Civic 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, Campus Compact member presidents and chancellors nominate student leaders from their campuses to be named Newman Civic Fellows.
Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides Fellows with a variety 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 postgraduate opportunities.
“We are proud to recognize these extraordinary student leaders and thrilled to engage with them,” said Campus Compact President Andrew Seligsohn. “The experience of the last year has driven home to all of us that we need open-minded, innovative, public-spirited thinkers and doers. That is what Campus Compact is about, and the stories of our Newman Civic Fellows demonstrate it’s who they are.”
About Campus Compact
Campus Compact is a national coalition of colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. Campus Compact supports institutions in fulfilling their public purposes by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. As the largest national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, we provide professional development to administrators and faculty to enable them to engage effectively, facilitate national partnerships connecting campuses with key issues in their local communities, build pilot programs to test and refine promising models in engaged teaching and scholarship, celebrate and cultivate student civic leadership, and convene higher education institutions and partners beyond higher education to share knowledge and develop collective capacity. Visit www.compact.org.
About the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Mercer University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences serves as the academic cornerstone of one of America’s oldest and most distinctive institutions of higher learning. The oldest and largest of Mercer’s 12 schools and colleges, it is a diverse and vibrant community, enrolling more than 1,900 students, dedicated to learning and service through the practice of intellectual curiosity, respectful dialogue and responsible citizenry. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers majors in more than 30 areas of study, including more than a dozen pre-professional academic tracks, with classes taught by an outstanding faculty of scholars. In 2015, Mercer was awarded a chapter of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society that recognizes exceptional achievement in the arts and sciences. For more information, visit liberalarts.mercer.edu.