Vicente Ortiz, a student at Mesa Community College, was recently named a 2021 Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellow. He is one of only 212 community college students from 39 states, Washington, D.C. and Mexico to form the 2021 cohort of fellows.
The Newman Civic Fellowship Award honors inspiring college student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country, according to a release.
Dr. Lori Berquam, MCC interim president, nominated Mr. Ortiz for this recognition, stating that, “Vicente has been an influential agent for campus and community involvement during his time at Mesa Community College. A catalyst for Vicente becoming committed to civic engagement was his involvement in projects with the Center for Community and Civic Engagement.”
Ms. Berquam continued, ”His various roles in this department taught Vicente the importance of finding needs within the community and tailoring high quality projects to address them. He has spent hundreds of hours in leadership positions honing those skills and has mentored other students to do the same.”
Mr. Ortiz, on track to earn an associate in applied science in business administration in May 2022, is an active student leader. At MCC he works and volunteers with the Center for Community and Civic Engagement and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
He is an active member of the Civic Action Team/MCC Votes, promoting voter registration and education; the MCC Engagement Team, promoting and attending numerous service projects and Net Impact’s Up to Us Team, educating individuals around the national debt. He also serves on the MCC Community Engagement Advisory Board. Mr. Ortiz’s community volunteerism includes working with the Census Bureau promoting the 2020 Census, serving as a city of Mesa 2020 Census Ambassador; and supporting Mesa United Way as an AmeriCorps member with the Mesa Youth Unite program.
Through service, research and advocacy, Newman Civic Fellows make the most of their college experience to better understand themselves, the root causes of social issues and effective mechanisms for creating lasting change.
The Newman Civic Fellowship is named in honor of Campus Compact founder Frank Newman, who was a passionate advocate for broadening opportunities for diverse and economically challenged students to have a college education and equally passionate in his advocacy for students to fulfill their roles as active citizens. Mr. Newman said, “The most important thing an institution does is not to prepare a student for a career, but for life as a citizen.”
In his personal statement, Mr. Ortiz says, “Through my experiences I have grown invaluable skills that have prepared me for life and leadership. I have found that the community engagement work that I do is pivotal to being a changemaker. A quote that has resonated with me throughout my college experience is, ‘find the need, take the lead, do the deed.’ No matter what leadership position I hold, I will always strive to find the needs in my community and tackle those issues head on through direct service and servant leadership.”
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.
“We are proud to recognize these extraordinary student leaders and thrilled to engage with them,” Campus Compact President Andrew Seligsohn said in the release. “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.”
Mesa Community College is nationally recognized as an Aspen Prize Top 150 U.S. Community College and is known for service learning, career and technical programs, civic engagement and innovative approaches to education. For more than 50 years, the college has served as a resource for career readiness, transfer education, workforce development and lifelong learning. Go to mesacc.edu.