Two Students Honored by Campus Compact for their Community Engagement Work

July 7, 2022

By Valeria Mendoza '22

Jillian Barrett ’24 and Brenna Leach ’22 were among those at Saint Anselm College honored by Campus Compact for their community engagement work this year.

Campus Compact, a national coalition made up of colleges and universities from around the country, aims to create community partnerships and establish students’ ties to their community. As a college that is recognized and celebrated for its community engagement through the Meelia Center, Saint Anselm College also sees an importance in highlighting and commending students, faculty, and staff who embody the goals of Campus Compact.

Jillian Barrett '24
Jillian Barrett '24

This year, Jillian Barrett ’24, a Spanish and social work double major is receiving the Newman Civic Fellowship, which acknowledges students who are “changemakers and public problem-solvers at Campus Compact member institutions.” The fellowship consists of a yearlong program, an opportunity for virtual learning as well as networking with other student leaders. Barrett has been active on campus and within the community since her first year as a student. She has a deep passion for solving justice issues that students of color face on as well as off-campus.

She began her community engagement as an Impact Fellow for the Meelia Center for Community Engagement working in the Remote Tutoring Collaborative (RTC). This program was developed as a result of the pandemic to offer online tutoring to students of color from K-12 in the Manchester School District who struggled with remote learning. She is described by Joseph A. Favazza, Ph.D., president of the college as someone who “showed strong leadership skills, a passion for helping others feel connected, and a commitment to creating positive change.” Barrett is also a member of a focus group on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) action planning on campus and continues to establish change in the community.

The Campus Compact For New Hampshire (CCNH) Presidents’ Awards are a group of awards to celebrate different campus members and community partners from all around New Hampshire. The Presidents’ Leadership Award is given to a student or student organization that has “made outstanding contributions to community and/or civic engagement efforts on their campus.” This year’s Presidents’ Leadership Award went to Brenna Leach ’22. Leach has shown commitment to social justice issues through a variety of roles and leadership opportunities across campus. The psychology major has worked for the Meelia Center for Community Engagement as a community partnership coordinator for over three years with Pine Haven Boys Center and Webster House which work with youth ages 5-18 years old.

During the pandemic, Leach was a key member at establishing the RTC by working with school staff, parents of students, and teachers. In her nomination letter, Meelia staff explain that Leach, “sees each one of the youths that she works alongside as showing up in the world with many strengths and skills. She views these community members through a lens that sees the whole person, not just their challenges or barriers.”

Brenna Leach
Brenna Leach '22

The President’ Good Steward Award is given to faculty, administration or staff members who are dedicated to campus-community engagement. This year the awards was given to two faculty members of the Nursing Department, Professor Michele Moreau and Professor Chelsey Twombly who teach a mental health nursing course, and taught over 100 sophomore nurses at non-profit partners. This course has led to the development of new partnerships, including the New Hampshire Hospital.

In the fall of 2020, they helped design virtual engagement options and projects for their students. Additionally, they helped students involved in research projects with partners like New Hampshire Hospital. They planned and led virtual wellness groups through a partnership with Moore Center. They also provided social and academic support to K-12 students, staffed a 24-hour crisis line for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, and helped with virtual English as a Second Language classes.

Lastly, the Presidents’ Community Partner Award, which honors a non-profit organization that has partnered with a CCNH member campus, was given to Hillsborough County Nursing Home. For over 30 years, the nursing home has partnered with Saint Anselm to develop opportunities for students. When organizations and the college went remote in spring of 2020, the nursing home created virtual opportunities to ease the residents’ sense of isolation while Saint Anselm students created virtual programming for the residents and worked with the nursing home staff to develop activities that would bring a joy during a challenging time.  Eventually, Saint Anselm students returned to in-person visits, further easing the residents’ isolation.

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