SMSU Briefs for April 26

Campus Compact Presidents’ Award winners announced at SMSU

A Southwest Minnesota State staff member, student, and committee have been named Iowa & Minnesota Campus Compact (IAMNCC) Presidents’ Award winners.

The 2021 Iowa & Minnesota Campus Compact awards honor over 90 individuals and organizations whose accomplishments exemplify and celebrate the public purpose at the heart of higher education. The winners were nominated by 28 of IAMNCC’s member campuses.

Presidents’ Awards recognize outstanding contributions in civic and community engagement by students, faculty, staff, collaborative teams, and community organizations on individual member campuses. There are several Presidents’ Awards categories, including Civic Engagement Leadership, Student Leadership, and Community Partner.

Southwest Minnesota State University Campus Compact Presidents’ Awards went to:

• Presidents’ Civic Engagement Leadership Award: Michele Knife Sterner, associate director, Access Opportunity Success. Her work with the city of Marshall, Southwest Adult Basic Education, Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council and Southwest Initiative Foundation has advanced SMSU’s civic mission by helping to institutionalize a culture and practice of engagement. She is an integral voice on campus and a key organizer of the Cultures on the Prairie Committee.

Presidents’ Civic Engagement Leadership Award recognizes a member of the faculty, administration, or staff or for a group (e.g., advisory committee, task force, project team) that has significantly advanced their campus’ distinctive civic mission by forming strong partnerships, supporting others’ civic and community engagement, and working to institutionalize a culture and practice of engagement.

• Presidents’ Student Leadership Award: Isabella (Bella) Erickson. The SMSU senior served as one of the Campus Election Engagement Project Student Fellows in 2020. She worked quickly and innovatively to help implement the six required events before the November election. She was integral to voter engagement at SMSU during the election season, educating students about registering, candidates, issues and anything election-related.

Presidents’ Student Leadership Award recognizes an individual student or a student organization that models a deep commitment to civic responsibility and leadership,

• President’s Community Partner Award: The Cultures on the Prairie Committee. This group organized the Cultures on the Prairie Conference, which focused on the experience of stories, history and cultures of southwest Minnesota. The conference included interactive panels to discuss the views of employers, workforce personnel, students and adults to help participants gain insight when hiring and serving all people of southwest Minnesota. Committee members included: Amanda Beckler, Marshall Community Services; See Moua-Leske, SouthWest Adult Basic Education; Joseph Karanja, Southwest Private Industry Council; Pablo Obregon, Southwest Initiative Foundation; Julie Walker, assistant professor, Communication Studies, SMSU; Michele Knife Sterner, associate director, Access Opportunity Success, SMSU; Esther Oluborode, SMSU student body president; Jade Moorse, SMSU-Minnesota West VISTA AmeriCorps representative.

Presidents’ Community Partner Award recognizes a community-based partner or organization that has enhanced the quality of life in the community in meaningful and measurable ways.


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