MISSOULA – Campus Compact recently honored University of Montana student Mara Menahan as a Newman Civic Fellow. Menahan, a senior from Helena, is one of eight Montana students recognized this year.
More than 190 students representing Campus Compact member colleges and universities were chosen from 36 states and the District of Columbia for the 2014 Newman Civic Fellow class. The recognition honors student leaders committed to creating lasting change in communities throughout the country.
Menahan is double majoring in environmental studies and geography with minors in climate change studies and wilderness studies. She was one of three UM students to attend the United Nations international climate change negotiations in Warsaw, Poland, last November, and in 2013 she received a prestigious Udall Scholarship. She also is actively involved with the UM Forum for Living with Appropriate Technology, also known as UM FLAT, the University’s environmentally focused living and learning community.
An aspiring artist, Menahan completed an internship with Montana Audubon during which she developed scientific illustrations to convey the impact of climate change on Montana’s birds. She also created sketches of her experience at the UN negotiations in Warsaw, working to learn how climate change issues can be communicated visually.
Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 1,000 college and university presidents committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education. It promotes public and community service that develops students’ citizenship skills, helps campuses forge effective community partnerships and provides resources and training for faculty looking to integrate civic and community-based learning into the curriculum. Newman Civic Fellows are nominated by institution presidents.
“Mara has tremendous capacity, motivation and drive. She is also a warm, compassionate and generous person,” wrote UM President Royce Engstrom in his nomination letter. “I have no doubt that her interests in participatory planning and visual communications will continue to find focus in helping society meet some of its greatest challenges.”
Menahan said public service played an important role in her transition to college life.
“It’s been really important as a student as a way to get involved and feel like I’m part of a larger community,” she said. “I think students can get lost when they come to a university as large as UM, especially as an undergraduate, where it’s sometimes your first time away from home. Public service for me has been a way to kind of adopt a family of my own away from Helena.”
For more information on the Newman Civic Fellowship, call Andrea Vernon, director of the UM Office for Civic Engagement, at 406-243-5159, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email Menahan at email@example.com.
Photo: UM senior Mara Menahan recently was honored as a Newman Civic Fellow.