Politics and Social Work Major Receives Award for Service to Community

May 2, 2019

By Haley Johnson '19

Abby Roden ’20, a politics and social work major from East Hampton, N.Y., was chosen to receive this year’s Newman Civic Fellowship for her dedication to serve the community and unwavering passion for change.

Offered by Campus Compact, a national coalition of over 1,000 colleges and universities dedicated to the public purposes of higher education, the Newman Civic Fellowship honors students nationwide who have demonstrated their commitment to social change and worked to find solutions to face challenges in their communities. Roden was nominated for the fellowship by Saint Anselm College President Steven R. DiSalvo, who perceived that her actions mirror the beliefs and deeds of Dr. Frank Newman, founder of Campus Compact. Newman was a strong advocate for fostering student civic learning, participation in service, and community engagement.

While working as a counselor for the YWCA New Hampshire domestic and sexual violence crisis line and shadowing the YWCA's court advocacy program, Roden was inspired to speak out against the re-victimization of survivors in the criminal justice system. Roden worked tirelessly with the YWCA N.H. and the New Hampshire Coalition of Against Domestic Violence to get the Marsy's Law constitutional amendment onto the New Hampshire state floor, so crime victims could have a greater say in the court system. Although the law did not pass, her brave initiative and powerful work make her a deserving recipient of the Newman Civic Fellowship.

“I believe empathy is a powerful weapon against evil in the world. At the end of the day, when I use empathy to empower a client, I feel like I have helped make the world a better place,” says Roden.

During the summer of 2018, Roden interned at the Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center in South Dakota. She came to understand the complex criminal justice system of the Yankton Sioux Tribal Nation and its effect on survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Roden also wrote articles for the Indigenous Women's Reproductive Rights Watch, worked for the Break the Silence Radio Show, and assisted in teaching young children the Dakota language through the Dakota Language Program’s summer camp.

On campus, Roden is a trained facilitator for Saint Anselm’s “Cupcakes and Conversation” program, where she leads discussions on important topics such as consent and men’s roles in female empowerment. Roden has also volunteered at Child and Family Services, works with homeless and runaway youth, and does street outreach. And finally, she spent the summer of 2017 backpacking through Israel and Palestine on a fact-finding tour of the Middle East.

“Abby Roden is a community leader committed to addressing issues of sexual and domestic violence, healthy relationships, and gender equity,” says President DiSalvo. “She is currently working on campus to organize peer led focus groups to identify the needs for education and services. In the community, she is working to advocate for local program and policy changes that directly impact survivors, including program changes that support retention of volunteers and prevent volunteer burnout.”

As she enters her senior year at the Hilltop this fall, Roden plans to utilize her knowledge and experience to become a stronger advocate, resource for those in need, and overall woman of action.

Saint Anselm College
Founded in 1889, Saint Anselm College is a four-year liberal arts college providing a 21st century education in the Catholic, Benedictine tradition. Located in southern New Hampshire near Boston and the seacoast, Saint Anselm is well known for its strong liberal arts and nursing programs as well as for the New Hampshire Institute of Politicswww.anselm.edu