Campus Compact has honored 201 students from colleges and universities nationwide as 2015 Newman Civic Fellows. The Newman Civic Fellows award honors inspiring student leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to finding solutions to challenges faced by their communities.
Campus Contact named Manhattan College junior Freda Tei a Newman Civic Fellow for her advocacy work done in her hometown of the Bronx. Since 2009, Tei has been an advocate for better schools and social change. She participates in her local Bronx community through the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC) and Sistas and Brothas United (SBU). Originally drawn to community organizing, Tei and her fellow high school students worked to decrease overcrowding by joining the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition’s campaign to turn the Kingsbridge Armory into schools. At Manhattan College, Tei helped establish a tutoring program at SBU and has been instrumental in the college access program. She has also continued to organize as part of the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance, training new members in community organizing strategies. Tei has spearheaded a petition campaign to support the New York State Dream Act and registered people to vote. Read more
Widener University senior Viraga Perera of Colombo, Sri Lanka, was named a Newman Civic Fellow. As a member of the Presidential Service Corps/Bonner Leaders Program at Widener, Perera annually commits to at least 300 hours of community service in the city of Chester, PA. He has dedicated much of his time to leading recruitment and coordination of volunteers at The College Access Center in Chester, an initiative of the Chester Higher Education Council that provides free college preparation services to high school students and adults. He also volunteers at the center as a tutor.
Perera, a dual electrical engineering and physics major, is also enrolled in the Oskin Leadership Program at Widener, which offers a select group of students leadership training and one-on-one coaching that guides them through identifying and developing a project that has the potential to change the world. For his project, Perera is developing a diversity certificate program for students offered through Widener’s Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.
Perera consistently shows a dedication to service while balancing additional responsibilities, including those of founding president of the debate society and member of the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, Sigma Pi Sigma National Physics Honor Society, Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, LOGOS-Christian Ministries, the Widener Chorale and Widener Men’s Rugby. He has also performed in six different plays with the Widener FreshBaked Theatre Company, which puts on inventive dramas for young audiences. All proceeds from the performances support food pantries in Chester. Read more