Individuals and groups across the campus and community were honored with 2021 Civic Engagement Awards on April 13, 2021, as part of Illinois State University’s virtual Civic Engagement Celebration. The event was hosted by the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE), and the awards were announced by CCE Director Dr. Katy Strzepek.
Nominations for the various award categories come from across the campus and community, and the winners are selected by an independent committee. Dr. Jackie Lanier, associate professor in the Department of Health Sciences, led the 2021 award selection committee.
“It was particularly difficult this year to select the honorees,” said Lanier. “We received an extensive list of nominees, and each one truly demonstrated a commitment to the University’s core value of civic engagement. The selection committee spent quite a bit of time on each award, and we really wished that we could honor each nominee’s contributions.”
The Student Wellness Ambassador Team received the 2021 Registered Student Organization (RSO) Civic Engagement Award. This award honors an RSO that has been significantly involved in civic engagement at Illinois State or in the broader community. These experiences prepare RSO members to be informed and engaged global citizens who will promote and further the goals of society.
Redbirds Together Wellness Ambassadors was formed through the leadership of the Student Wellness Ambassador Team (SWAT) to share messaging to students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Student leaders were trained with COVID-19 prevention information and then became trainers for other students interested in becoming ambassadors dedicated to providing peer-to-peer education, reminders, and encouragement to their fellow Redbirds.
SWAT focused on prevention messaging, like physical distancing and the importance of wearing a face covering. These ambassadors were seen around campus encouraging and motivating students to follow the University’s COVID-19 guidelines. They became true advocates for health and safety.
Congratulations to the executive board of the Student Wellness Ambassador Team: Ian Crain, Leticia Erazo, Tatum Flores, Nicole Johnson, Abby LaRocco, Vanessa Le, Haley Lemp, and Maura Monahan.
University Galleries received the 2021 Unit Civic Engagement Award. This award recognizes a unit or department that has developed a civic engagement initiative or activity at Illinois State or in the community, reflecting the department’s commitment to the public good.
University Galleries functions as a creative laboratory for Illinois State faculty and students, community members, and visiting artists. All exhibitions and events are free and open to the public. They present critically oriented exhibitions, accessible programming, professional development, and opportunities for engagement directly with contemporary artists. A few examples include: protest banner-making workshops with Chicago-based artist Aram Han Sifuentes; an exhibition of Iranian-American artist Nazafarin Lotfi’s work curated by the Teen Art Group; online art-making videos created since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic; and a program with Normal Community High School sociology students inspired by Alice Hargrave’s climate change-related exhibition.
From 2019-2021, University Galleries partnered with over 20 campus and community organizations, in addition to K-12 schools state-wide and universities nationwide.
Congratulations to the entire team at University Galleries: Jessica Bingham, Aaron Caldwell, Holly Filsinger, Ari Garcia, Lisa Lofgren, Luke Lowers, Kendra Paitz, Tom Patsavas, Tanya Scott, Zachary Sprenger, and Anna Tulley.
Interdisciplinary Team Award
The Contact Tracing Unit received the 2021 Interdisciplinary Civic Engagement Award. This award is new this year and it recognizes a group, team, or initiative that is a multi-department effort of a civic engagement initiative or activity at Illinois State University or in the community. This recognition acknowledges that civic engagement has no boundaries and that collaboration is often required.
With the return of students to campus, a significant increase of COVID-19 cases overwhelmed the existing team at the McLean County Health Department. Dean Judy Neubrander’s innovative idea led to a partnership with the McLean County Health Department and the creation of the Contact Tracing Center on campus to manage case investigation and contact tracing for Illinois State University students.
The collective efforts of many departments including Mennonite College of Nursing, Student Health Services, Student Affairs IT, Human Resources, Dean of Students Office, Department of Health Sciences, University Housing Services, Event Management Dining and Hospitality, and the McLean County Health Department successfully supported students during the pandemic, slowing the spread of disease.
Congratulations to the members of the Contact Tracing Unit: Rob Bailey, John Baur, Jill Benson, Lissa Bevins, Cathy Coverston-Anderson, Katie Eichinger, Diane Folken, Heidi German, Melissa Graven, LaNell Greenberg, Colette Homan, Kyle Hopta, Melissa Jarvill, Dane Langellier, Jackie Lanier, Bill Legett, Susan Lynch, Michelle Maurer, Kevin McCrone, Jessica McKnight, Guadalupe Montalvo, Stacey Mwilambwe, Judy Neubrander, Christina Nulty, Brent Paterson, Amanda Phillips, Carla Pohl, Carly Pohlman, Shannon Rader, Ed Ramos, Bridget Reeland, Justin Smith, Karis Stephens, Bobbie Stevens, Trish Trainor, Tim Tribble, Juan Vargas, and Michelle Whited.
Dr. May Jadallah received the 2021 Faculty Civic Engagement Award. This award recognizes a faculty member who has contributed significantly to incorporating civic engagement into their teaching, scholarly and creative productivity, and/or professional and community service while at Illinois State University. This recognition honors the faculty member’s commitment to the public good and advancement of civic engagement within their discipline.
Jadallah is a professor in the School of Teaching and Learning. She is a co-advisor for the Student Sustainability Committee, co-advisor for Student Environmental Action Coalition, and advisor to students leading the Fossil Free ISU initiative.
She had a powerful nomination from students. One nominator wrote: “Dr. Jadallah has not only stepped up to a call for civic engagement when we came to her, but every semester she inspires new students to do the same by her involvement with the Student Environmental Action Coalition. Our members could not have found a better role model for civic engagement than what we see in and learn from Dr. Jadallah.”
Amy Roser received the 2021 Staff Civic Engagement Award. This award recognizes a staff member who is significantly involved in civic engagement activities at Illinois State University and/or in the broader community. This recognition honors staff members who contribute to the public good and embody the core value of civic engagement personally and/or professionally.
Roser works for University College and is currently president of the Unit 5 Board of Education. Unit 5 is one of the largest school districts in Illinois, serving approximately 13,000 students. It is also one of the largest employers in Bloomington-Normal, with almost 2,000 employees.
In her role as president of the Board, Roser works to represent and consider the views of all students, staff members, and taxpayers. She led the district through some very challenging times, including a superintendent transition, social justice protests, and a major pandemic that shut down in-person learning.
Joshua Crockett received the 2021 Student Civic Engagement Award. This award recognizes a student who is significantly involved in civic engagement activities at Illinois State University and/or in the broader community, embodying the ideal of an informed and engaged global citizen.
Crockett is a senior graduating in May with a degree in political science and minor in civic engagement and responsibility. He transferred to ISU as a junior and has been active in campus life.
He has been involved in Student Government Association as the secretary for Governmental Relations and past chair of the Civic Engagement Committee. He served as a census fellow, encouraging student participation in the 2020 Census, and as an election fellow, encouraging student turnout in the 2020 election. Crocket supported Illinois Campus Compact’s poll worker initiative and served as regional organizer for a congressional campaign.
Just last week Crockett was elected to a four-year term to Heartland Community College’s Board of Trustees.
Friend of Civic Engagement Award
While the other Civic Engagement Awards are selected by an independent committee from nominations across the campus and community, the new Friend of Civic Engagement Award was created by CCE staff in 2021 to recognize individuals going above and beyond to help CCE fulfill its mission. The inaugural recipients of the Friend of Civic Engagement Award are Wendi Whitman and Dr. Jackie Lanier.
Whitman has served as the academic advisor for students in the Civic Engagement and Responsibility minor since its inception. For 11 years she has guided and supported students to secure the courses they need to achieve this important, interdisciplinary minor. By doing so she has helped so many students explore the multiple aspects of civic engagement and prepare to be active in their communities after graduation.
“It was important for us to recognize Wendi’s work with the minor because she has been a true champion for it,” said Strzepek. “Personally and professionally, I appreciate Wendi’s contributions and her heart for civic engagement at Illinois State University.”
Lanier has served as the faculty leader of the American Democracy Project for the last two years and as the co-chair of the Voter Engagement Coalition. She has been instrumental in the integration of the American Democracy Project programs and initiatives into CCE. She also demonstrates a commitment to civic engagement through engaged teaching and community-based learning experiences for her students as well as through her leadership and service to the School Street Food Pantry.
“Jackie has been an invaluable resource through the last election cycle and was instrumental in the University receiving the designation of Voter Friendly Campus,” said Harriett Steinbach, assistant director at CCE and co-chair with Lanier of the Voter Engagement Coalition. “She is truly an honorary member of the Center for Civic Engagement team.”