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University of Iowa News Release


April 12, 2007

UI Students, Faculty Honored For Engagement Efforts

Three University of Iowa students and a faculty member were recognized by the Iowa Campus Compact this week for their engagement efforts and will be honored Friday as part of the Celebrating Campus and Community Engagement Conference in Pella.

Kristi Musser and Natalie Wicklund, both seniors, were chosen as members of the 2007 Iowa Campus Compact Senior Honor Circle. Matt Menietti, a junior, received an honorable mention for the 2007 Iowa Campus Compact Iowa Swearer Humanitarian Award. UI Associate Professor of Management and Organizations Kenneth Brown received an honorable mention for the 2007 Iowa Campus Compact Faculty Service-Learning Award.

Iowa Campus Compact is a coalition of college and university presidents committed to fostering in students the values and skills of civic engagement.

"Giving back to the community is an important part of our mission as a public university, and it's important to our students, staff and faculty," said Executive Vice President and Provost Michael J. Hogan. "It's nice to see some of our most actively engaged students and faculty get recognized for making a difference."

Vice President for Student Services and Dean of Students Phillip Jones added that these recognitions "confirm the value of collaboration and of curricular and co-curricular learning through civic engagement."

The Iowa Campus Compact Senior Honor Circle award honors students in their senior year for pioneering strategies in addressing community issues and needs, and their efforts to build and sustain this work.

Musser, 21, a speech and hearing sciences major from Riverside, served as hospital director on the Executive Council for Dance Marathon 2007, which raised more than $880,000. She is on the Student Leader Board at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and was on the board for the United Way Student Campaign this past fall. She has volunteered in several capacities at UIHC, served as the vice president of community services for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and was a peer mentor for Women in Science and Engineering, among other responsibilities.

"Kristin is well known . . . as one of the most active and engaged students on campus," UI Associate Professor Douglas Baynton wrote in Musser's nomination letter.

During an assistantship with the United Way of Johnson County, Wicklund, 23, a political science and international studies major from Bloomington, Ill., worked on a record-breaking $2 million fundraising campaign. For the UI Student Government, she quickly organized students after the April 2006 storms by taking on the position of director of internal operations for tornado relief efforts. Wicklund helped see that students who experienced major property losses received the resources they needed.

In her nomination essay, Wicklund described her desire as a new college student to become an activist and to enact political change. She quickly realized that she could get far more accomplished through engagement than through politics. 

"It was here in my life that my approach to social problems shifted from fighting to engaging," she wrote. "I strove to engage my peers in their communities -- collegiate and beyond."

Menietti, 21, who received the honorable mention for the Iowa Swearer Humanitarian Award, is an engineering student from Iowa City. Each year since 1987, one student from each member of Campus Compact has been nominated for this award, which also honors efforts in addressing community issues and needs.

Menietti served as the executive director of outreach for the 2007 10,000 Hours Show. Under his leadership, the show garnered over 38,000 hours of service by more than 2,000 volunteers. He also serves on the advisory board for the Civic Engagement Program and was instrumental in instituting the UI's first-annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. The service day promoted the day off of work as a "day on," encouraging faculty, staff, students and community members to volunteer on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

"While my positions this year have certainly been far from easy, I wouldn't trade a second of it for anything else," Menietti wrote in his essay.

UI Associate Professor and Huneke Faculty Research Fellow Kenneth Brown was a driving force in the creation, development and implementation of the UI's Service Learning Institute, which serves as a workshop opportunity to assist faculty in designing service-learning strategies. Brown's first-year seminar, "Community Service, Non-Profit Leadership, and Social Entrepreneurship," encourages students to complete a service-learning project and to study the relationship between business and service.

"He is an inspiration to faculty, students, and administrators, and challenges us all to constantly consider how our work can better our communities," Interim President Gary Fethke wrote in Brown's nomination letter.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT: Mary Mathew Wilson, Civic Engagement Program, 319-335-7589,