EMK Institute hosted ‘civic fellows’ conference 

Newman Fellows came from across the US to participate in the civic at the EMK Institute.

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate welcomed more than 200 college students from across the country on Nov. 15-16 for the Newman Civic Fellows Annual Convening hosted in partnership with Campus Compact.

While in attendance, the students took part in productive group conversations on policy and community-based change, heard from civic leaders, and made their voices heard through programs in the Institute’s full-scale replica Senate chamber. 

“These rising leaders are already bringing participatory democracy to life through their engagement with the issues of the day. We hope that their activism, community engagement, political and public service passions only grow as a result of their time at the Institute,” said EMK Institute Chief Operating Officer Gina Perille. 

The Newman Civic Fellows visited Columbia Point for a weekend of programs, workshops, and networking, convening to discuss how to address societal challenges and to experience some of the Kennedy Institute’s legislative simulations.

Among the hands-on legislative simulation experiences that the Newman Fellows took part in at the Institute was consideration and passage of the Green New Deal and deliberation on the merits of the PATRIOT Act. 

Boston City Councillor Lydia Edwards discussed her experience as an organizer and her path to elected office in the City of Boston at the convening.

“It was a pleasure to join the Kennedy Institute, Campus Compact, and all of the student leaders who are making a difference in their communities nationwide,” said Councillor Edwards. 

“The Newman Civic Fellows are an invigorating and positive example of how the next generation uses collaboration, community organizing, and creative public problem-solving to tackle significant issues facing cities, states, and our nation,” she added. 

The weekend convening was orchestrated by Campus Compact, a national association composed of more than 1,000 colleges and universities with a commitment to strengthening democracy through civic- and community-oriented values. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, the coalition serves as the single organization within the higher education sector aiming to help schools improve community life and educate students for civic and social responsibility.

“The cultivation of community-committed leaders has never been more crucial,” said Campus Compact president Andrew Seligsohn. “Our Newman Civic Fellows are outstanding leaders at their institutions who are already bringing people together to create positive change. We’re proud to work in partnership with the Kennedy Institute to amplify the great work these students are doing, enable them to learn from each other, and prepare them to meet the challenges facing our democracy.”