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Civic engagement awards were picked up by Brendan Wall (left), on behalf o SERC; Kerri Calvert; Shelly Clevenger; Julie McCoy, on behalf of District 87; R.C. McBride, on behalf of WGLT; and Madison Kartcheske.

In 2019 Civic engagement awards were picked up by Brendan Wall (left), on behalf of SERC; Kerri Calvert; Shelly Clevenger; Julie McCoy, on behalf of District 87; R.C. McBride, on behalf of WGLT; and Madison Kartcheske.

Individuals, organizations honored for civic engagement work

Illinois State University recognized students, faculty, staff, and on- and off-campus groups April 30 for their outstanding contributions to civic engagement.

The University’s chapter of the American Democracy Project (ADP) held the fourth annual Civic Engagement Celebration in the Circus Room of the Bone Student Center.

Associate Provost Ani Yazedjian and Dean of Students and ADP Co-Leader John Davenport presented the following awards:

  • Student Citizenship Award—Madison Kartcheske
  • Staff Citizenship Award—Health Promotion and Wellness coordinator Kerri Calvert
  • Faculty Citizenship Award—Criminal Justice Sciences Professor Shelly Clevenger
  • Unit/Department Award—WGLT radio station
  • Registered Student Organization (RSO) Award—Students Ending Rape Culture
  • Community Partner Award—Bloomington School District 87

Kartcheske, a senior, majors in English and minors in civic engagement and responsibility. She received plaudits for her leadership role with Alternative Breaks, for helping to organize Social Work Day, and for her volunteer work with Normal Public Library and Sugar Creek Arts Festival.

Kartcheske was praised for being a “hands-on role model” and an “inspiring student.”

Award nominators noted Calvert’s work with Health Promotion and Wellness and various community organizations, including the McLean County Wellness Coalition and the student food pantry. “She is an asset to the community,” one nominator stated.

Clevenger received the faculty award for giving a platform to the survivors of sexual violence and cyberabuse through her research and outreach. She has collaborated with YWCA Stepping Stones, a McLean County program for sexual assault victims, and organized the “What Were You Wearing” project at Illinois State, which involves students recreating the outfits sexual assault survivors described wearing when they were attacked. Clevenger has written three books and spoke about her research before Congress and UN Women, a United Nations organization.

“There is no one more deserving of this award,” a nominator stated.

Related Article: Hidden pain ISU scholar interviews mothers of sexual assault victims

WGLT, the NPR member station based at Illinois State, took home an award for hosting a series of Community Conversations and local election forums. The former project brought together community members for dialogues on gun violence, journalism, and youth mental health.

“GLT is all about community service,” station General Manager R.C. McBride said.

Students Ending Rape Culture (SERC) was honored in just its second year as an RSO. Blair Canedy, a senior legal studies major, and Brendan Wall, a junior biochemistry major, accepted the award on behalf of the organization.

Health Promotion and Wellness began sponsoring SERC this year, helping the RSO obtain more resources and reach a larger audience. Wall and Canedy were most proud of a public event SERC held to discuss proposed changes to federal rules regulating how colleges should handle sexual misconduct cases.

“We are a small organization, but that doesn’t mean we are not creating change,” Wall said.

District 87 was recognized for its strong relationship with the College of Education, offering students opportunities to serve as mentors and receive clinical teaching experience. “This community partner contributes so much to student learning,” a nominator stated.

The American Democracy Project is a partnership of Academic Affairs and Students Affairs whose goal is to promote civic engagement of students so that they remain active citizens of the global community in the future. Civic engagement is also a core value of the University as highlighted in its strategic plan, Educate Connect Elevate: Illinois State.

To nominate an individual or group for an award, visit

Kevin Bersett can be reached at

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