Areyana Proctor, a second-year Journalism student at the University of Colorado Boulder, has been named a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact. Areyana is a storyteller and change-maker who is passionate about racial justice, equity, and criminal justice reform. As a member of the INVST Community Studies (INVST) and Multicultural Leadership Scholars (MLS) programs, Areyana engages in rigorous research on the structural causes of racial inequality, the carceral system, and educational inequality. An accomplished filmmaker, she is interning with Motus Theater and the Boulder International Film Festival to further develop her abilities to use arts as a vehicle for communicating to a broad public about how to make skillful, strategic, and positive social change.
“INVST is for students who are passionate about social justice and environmental sustainability and committed to making a positive contribution in the world, as a lifetime commitment. Covid-19 prevented us from being able to offer a travel opportunity to Areyana in 2020 but she still enrolled in the online course since she was dedicated to learning the material about climate justice, environmental racism, and the uneven impacts of global warming upon the people of the world. This demonstrates Areyana’s thirst for knowledge. Her INVST educators are inspired by the balance of strength and softness that exists within her. Areyana is also a phenomenal cohort member, constantly working to build community in INVST and hold her peers accountable, while expecting to be held accountable herself. She has demonstrated a remarkable ability to be honest and tell the truth even when it’s challenging to do so” said Sabrina Sideris, INVST Director.
“All our MLS students are stellar, but every few years we have a few who simply stand out, go above and beyond what is expected of them in our classes and program, and perform at an extraordinary level. This year it is definitely Areyana. I’ve had the pleasure of having her as a student and she not only has outstanding writing skills where her papers are always creatively written and carefully crafted but her classroom contributions are critically analyzed and thoughtful. When she speaks in class, I often pause because I learn so much from her brilliant mind. I also look forward to reading her class papers because they challenge me as a professor and encourage me to think and process our topics at a new and exciting level” said Dr. Johanna Maes, senior instructor in the MLS program.
“The University of Colorado Boulder is defined by our key strategic imperative to shape tomorrow’s leaders. Areyana is an unusually gifted and accomplished student and leader whose work is grounded in a strong commitment to social justice and inclusion. She is someone who is always growing and pushing herself while being incredibly self-reflective about her own strengths and areas for growth.” said CU Boulder Chancellor, Phil DiStefano. “She is developing as a storyteller and change-maker who is passionate about racial justice, equity, and criminal justice reform. Indeed, in her short time on campus, she has already made a big impact.”
Co-owner of Mama Bird Media, Areyana is passionate about working with women of color to capture their essence and their everyday lives. She also conducts legacy interviews for families to have to pass on their stories to their descendants. “The more I learn, the more I am invigorated. Through this work I learn more about social problems, those most impacted, and what we can do to fix them.” said Areyena, “It was really exciting to be awarded, I didn’t expect to win, and that likely plays into how I have doubted myself in my life. I’m looking forward to connecting with more people and doing the necessary work of storytelling. This award made me feel like I’m on the right path and doing something that really matters.”
CU Boulder also wants to recognize four finalists, Adriana Iturbe, a sophomore in Leadership and Community Engagement and Ethnic Studies, Mariam Lara, a junior in Sociology with a minor in Leadership Studies, and Jordan Lee, a sophomore in Linguistics and Geography. See the nominees' highlights here.
The Newman Civic Fellowship is a year-long program for students from Campus Compact member institutions. The students selected for the fellowship are leaders on their campuses who demonstrate a commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities locally, nationally, and internationally. Areyana will join 212 students from 39 states, Washington, D.C., and Mexico to form the 2021 cohort.
The fellowship is named for the late Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders, who was a tireless advocate for civic engagement in higher education. In the spirit of Dr. Newman’s leadership, Campus Compact member presidents and chancellors nominate student leaders from their campuses to be named Newman Civic Fellows.
Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides Fellows with a variety of learning and networking opportunities that emphasize personal, professional, and civic growth. Each year, fellows participate in numerous virtual training and networking opportunities to help provide them with the skills and connections they need to create large-scale positive change. The cornerstone of the fellowship is the Annual Convening of Fellows, which offers intensive skill-building and networking over the course of two days. The fellowship also provides fellows with pathways to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.
“We are proud to recognize these extraordinary student leaders and thrilled to engage with them,” said Campus Compact President Andrew Seligsohn. “The experience of the last year has driven home to all of us that we need open-minded, innovative, public-spirited thinkers and doers. That is what Campus Compact is about, and the stories of our Newman Civic Fellows demonstrate it's who they are.”
Learn more at compact.org/newman-civic-fellowship. You can read more about each of the student leaders selected for this year’s cohort at compact.org/newman-civic-fellowship/2021-2022-newman-civic-fellows.