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Guilford College senior honored as Barnhill Civic Trailblazer

2018 Barnhill Trailblazer Zaynah Afada. Photo courtesy of Guilford College.

Guilford College senior Zaynah Afada is the 2018 recipient of the John H. Barnhill Civic Trailblazer Award. The annual award is presented by North Carolina Campus Compact to one student in the state who fostered innovative service partnerships and whose leadership inspires others to serve.

A Bonner Scholar at Guilford, Afada is honored for her service with immigrant and refugee communities in Greensboro.

Afada first encountered Guilford’s Bonner program during her sophomore year of high school, when she joined a project called the African Youth Initiative. The initiative supported newly arrived African immigrant youth in Greensboro as they worked to graduate high school and access higher education.

“When I came to the United States,” Afada says, “I had no previous knowledge about the education system here, so I understood why newly arrived African youth struggled. I knew how hard it was to learn a different language, adjust to a different culture, and access resources in a foreign city.”

At the time, the African Youth Initiative was coordinated by Bonner students from Guilford College. The connection was serendipitous: Afada graduated from high school and enrolled at Guilford as a Bonner Scholar, a program she says “afforded me the opportunity to access an education and an opportunity to serve others.”

Afada was born in the West African country of Togo, and she immigrated to the U.S. with her family when she was nine years old. As a Guilford student and Bonner Scholar, she sought out opportunities to work with Greensboro’s immigrant communities. She was coordinator of the community garden project at the Newcomer’s School and an intern with the North Carolina African Services Coalition. She is also a member of Guilford’s food justice club and African Students Association.

In 2017 Afada was elected by the community to serve as one of five members of the City of Greensboro’s International Advisory Committee (IAC). The committee reports to the city’s human relations commission and the city council about issues and policies affecting Greensboro’s diverse international community.

Afada addresses CSNAP audience. Photo: Dennis McNair

Perhaps her most important service has been with immigrant and refugee families who lived in the Summit-Cone apartment complex. In November 2016, Afada began serving as the Bonner coordinator for a community center at the low-income housing complex. Andrew Young, former volunteer training coordinator at Guilford, took Afada on her first visit to the neighborhood.

“Ms. Afada was tentative at first, but willing to give it a try,” Young recalled. “As we went door to door introducing ourselves she was a natural, able to get residents to open their doors and converse in halting English or in French.”

For almost two years, Afada recruited volunteers, tutored children after school, and assisted families at the complex. In May 2018, an accidental kitchen fire in one apartment killed five children. Their family had been resettled in the complex from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The apartment had no working smoke detectors. The tragedy focused attention on a number of contributing factors: the lack of affordable housing, city building code enforcement, negligent landlords, and economic insecurity facing immigrant and refugee families.

Afada saw the community center needed to serve residents in a different way. She and other volunteers worked with residents to file housing complaints, created spreadsheets to track data, and arranged conversations with city officials, all while comforting devastated neighbors. Most impressive about Afada’s work, according to one nominator, was “her knowledge of each of the 30 or so families. She knew almost everyone’s name.”

In September the Summit-Cone apartments were condemned by the city, and the Bonner community center project ended. Afada plans to continue her work on behalf of immigrant communities in new ways after graduation.

Created in 2011, the Barnhill Award is named for John H. Barnhill, who founded innovative service programs while a student at Elon University and who later became the founding executive director of North Carolina Campus Compact. Afada is the ninth student to receive the award and the first from Guilford College.

Afada and Bonner director James Shields. Photo: Dennis McNair


Afada was honored at the Compact’s annual CSNAP student conference, held this year on November 10 at Fayetteville State University. The event convened more than 150 students and staff from 23 campuses in the network. In addition to awards and networking opportunities, the conference included student-led workshops, panel discussions, and plenary sessions on diverse community engagement topics around the theme: “The Power of Youth Civic Courage.”

North Carolina Campus Compact is a collaborative network of 37 colleges and universities committed to educating students for civic and social responsibility, partnering with communities for positive change, and strengthening democracy. The NC Campus Compact state office fosters connections between campuses, shares best practice information and resources, recognizes outstanding work, and champions civic and community engagement in higher education.  The network, an affiliate of the national Campus Compact organization, was founded in 2002 and is hosted by Elon University.

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CEEP non-partisan NC voter guides just in time for early voting!

The Campus Election Engagement Project is a national, nonpartisan effort that helps administrators, faculty, staff, and student leaders at America’s colleges and universities engage students in federal, state, and local elections. In addition to supporting student voting fellows across the across the country and funding our MidTermsMatter mini-grants program here in NC, CEEP produces non-partisan candidate and issue guides designed to give student voters straightforward, unbiased information. For 2018, CEEP has created several NC-specific guides and resources. PLEASE reproduce and distribute!

NC Supreme Court Candidate Guide – a 2-page guide to the 3 candidates who are vying for a seat on the state’s highest court: incumbent Republican Barbara Jackson, Democratic challenger Anita Earls, and Republican Chris Anglin. This is the most important statewide office on the 2018 ballot.

NC’s 9th U.S. Congressional District Candidate Guide – a 2-page guide to the top two candidates in one of the most competitive U.S. House races in the state. NC’s 9th Congressional District includes Robeson County (UNC Pembroke), parts of Mecklenburg County (Central Piedmont CC), and parts of Cumberland County (Fayetteville State).

NC’s 13th U.S. Congressional District Candidate Guide – a 2-page guide to the top two candidates in one of the most competitive U.S. House races in the state. NC’s 13th Congressional District includes parts of Guilford County (UNC Greensboro, High Point University, Guilford Tech, Guilford College, NC A&T, Bennett College) and parts of Davidson County (Davidson County CC).

NC Amendments Poster(reduced) – a 11 x 17-inch poster educating voters about the 6 proposed amendments to the NC constitution appearing on the ballot. For each amendment, the poster provides language that will appear on the ballot and bullet-point explanations of what the amendment would change, but it does not advocate for/against any of the measures. In NC, constitutional amendments that appear on the ballot can be approved by a bare majority (51%) of voters. The poster is created with resources from You Can Vote, a grassroots, non-partisan organization based in Durham, NC.

CEEP has many other guides for important races in other states. Check out to view all the CEEP guides. CEEP also has tips on creating your own candidate guides, and a guide to using their guides.

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COPIL team authors book chapter, “Social Justice In Service-Learning And Community Engagement”

A team of practitioner-scholars from NC Campus Compact’s Community of Practice, Inquiry, and Learning (COPIL) has authored a book chapter in the forthcoming volume, Critical Intersections In Contemporary Curriculum & Pedagogy. The chapter — “Social Justice In Service-Learning And Community Engagement: A Conversation About Meanings, Practices, And Possibilities” — is a reflection on the group’s formation and shared dialogue around key concepts that undergird higher education service-learning and community engagement, particularly “social justice.” In introducing the chapter, the authors note:

This reflective chapter is part of COPIL’s process and one of its products. Here, we converse around how social justice is (a) conceptualized, (b) operationalized, and (c) visualized. Some of our quotes here have been edited for brevity, specificity, and readability. We have made no attempt to reach or represent consensus; rather, we explore and share points of agreement and disagreement, including as we are using them to guide us in ongoing inquiry.

The authors include individuals from the NC Campus Compact network and from the Service-Learning Community Engagement Future Directions Project (SLCE-FDP):

Leslie Garvin, NC Campus Compact
Patricia Bricker, Western Carolina University
Margaret M. Commins, Queens University of Charlotte
Spoma Jovanovic, UNC Greensboro
Kelly Misiak, Pfeiffer University
Lane Perry, Western Carolina University
Sarah E. Stanlick, Lehigh University
Elizabeth Wall-Bassett, Western Carolina University
Catherine Wright, Wingate University
Patti Clayton, PHC Ventures

The volume Critical Intersections In Contemporary Curriculum & Pedagogy is edited by Laura Jewett, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; Freyca Calderon-Berumen, The Pennsylvania State University-Altoona; and Miryam Espinosa-Dulanto, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. The book is published by Information Age Publishing.

View the flyer for more information and ordering instructions.


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New partnership with Food Lion Feeds will support campus efforts to fight hunger

North Carolina Campus Compact has joined forces with Food Lion Feeds to launch a “Collegiate Challenge” that will mobilize colleges and universities to address hunger in their local community. A geographically diverse group of 18 schools — including 4-year colleges and universities and 2-year community colleges — will compete for $20,000 in funding to support campus-based hunger relief projects, while generating donations to local food banks.

Schools can earn points in the challenge by organizing hunger awareness events and food donation drives. Individual students can earn points for their school by shopping at local Food Lion stores or posting on social media. Each campus selected an MVP Student Ambassador to help organize the Collegiate Challenge, which runs from September 17 – December 3.

“We are excited to partner with NC Campus Compact and these 18 campuses that are already doing so much around food insecurity,” said Pat Taft, Community Relations Manager for Food Lion.  “It is a natural fit for us because we are passionate about feeding our neighbors who shop with us and those who may have the difficult task of choosing between rent and gas and groceries.  We want to encourage the great work these students are already doing and by supporting their efforts we can broaden the reach of our hunger relief efforts in the towns and cities we serve.”

College campuses across the country and in North Carolina are taking steps to address student hunger. UNC Pembroke and Wake Community College are among a number of schools with on-campus food pantries, and a recent study by NC State University found 14% of students had experienced low or very low food security in the past month.

Through Food Lion Feeds, the company has made a commitment to provide 500 million meals to individuals and families in need by the end of 2020. Since the launch of Food Lion Feeds in 2014, the grocer has donated more than 400 million meals through in-store campaigns, in-store food rescue programs and associate volunteerism.

About Food Lion

Food Lion, based in Salisbury, N.C., since 1957, has more than 1,000 stores in 10 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states and employs more than 63,000 associates. By leveraging its longstanding heritage of low prices and convenient locations, Food Lion is working to own the easiest full shop grocery experience in the Southeast, anchored by a strong commitment to affordability, freshness and the communities it serves. Through Food Lion Feeds, the company has committed to provide 500 million meals to individuals and families in need by the end of 2020. Food Lion is a company of Ahold Delhaize USA, the U.S. division of Zaandam-based Royal Ahold Delhaize Group. For more information, visit

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CSNAP Student Conference will let students learn, share ideas to advance campus-community engagement

On November 9-10 in Fayetteville, NC Campus Compact will hold its annual CSNAP Student Conference in partnership with Fayetteville State University. CSNAP — which stands for “Citizenship, Service, Networking, And Partnerships” — lets college students lead and attend breakout sessions that advance the practice of civic and community engagement on campuses across the state. Workshops may address leadership skills, model programs, or public issues.

The 2018 event will also explore the concept of social justice by featuring a panel of local civil rights activists and a group exercise based on Theater of the Oppressed. During the CSNAP awards ceremony, the Compact will recognize Community Impact Award recipients from participating campuses, as well as the Barnhill Civic Trailblazer, one outstanding student whose community service has created new paths to engagement and inspired peers. Learn more about the awards.

All CSNAP participants can also apply for the Marshall Alternative Break Scholarship. Created by former CSNAP award winner and Western Carolina University alum Aaron Marshall as an effort to “pay it forward,” the scholarship offers up to $250 to support a student’s participation in an alternative break service trip. In most years, multiple scholarships are awarded.

Students (and campus staff) should submit breakout session proposals by Oct. 5. Submit via the Call for Proposals.

Registration for the event is open now through Oct. 22. Cost is $75/pp for students, faculty, and staff from Campus Compact member campuses (including CC members from outside NC) or $100/pp for individuals from colleges and universities that are not part of the network. Fee covers all conference materials, plus breakfast and lunch on Saturday.

Submit a breakout session proposal by Oct. 5

Register by Oct. 22

Learn more the event




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New NC Afterschool Corps VISTA members begin service year

Last week NC Campus Compact welcomed the newest NC Afterschool Corps members with a two-day orientation and training event. For the 2018-2019 project year, fourteen members will serve at 10 campus and community sites to strengthen afterschool programs and facilitate connections between colleges and universities and their community partners. All of these members are serving as part of the AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America program, also known as VISTA. VISTA aims to strengthen organizations that alleviate poverty through volunteering and the mobilization of resources. NC Campus Compact has sponsored VISTA projects since 2003; this year marks the second year of the Compact’s focus on afterschool.

The orientation and training event was held at Elon University and included sessions on why afterschool matters, performance measurement, the Design for Change approach, and event planning. We also enjoyed a team dinner, an afternoon at Elon’s Challenge Course, a conversation with the program coordinator of the It Takes A Village Project, and lunch with several VISTA program alums.

NC Campus Compact is excited to support this group of talented and dedicated national service members. Learn more about them and their placement sites below.

Amanda Kinsey
Site: High Point Leap
Partner: High Point Univeristy

Originally from the small town of Hailey, Idaho, Amanda recently graduated from The University at Buffalo in Buffalo NY with a degree in health and human service- early childhood. During her undergraduate years, she joined an Emergency and Rescue Squad and became a Certified EMT, held an executive board position for an on campus community service club- UB Circle K, and worked at the local YMCA as a Before and After School site coordinator. In her free time, Amanda likes to craft, kayak, and explore her new home. Why VISTA? Amanda says: “I decided to become a VISTA because after graduation I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do. This year I am looking forward to finding myself through the eyes of my students.”

Ana Gomez
Site: Duke University, America Reads and Counts
Partner:Durham County Library

Ana will be working with Duke’s America Read America Counts program in her hometown of Durham, NC. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor’s of Science in biology. Throughout undergrad, she worked with the university’s Carolina Latinx Collaborative as the undergraduate director. In that role, Ana worked on programming to help provide resources for Latinx students. She joined VISTA as an opportunity to expand the skills that she had learned in undergrad and because the mission is something she wants to work for. In her free time, Ana loves to cook and run.

Anissa Williams
Site: Movement of Youth
Partner: UNC-Chapel Hill

Anissa Williams is a North Carolina native from Henderson in Vance County. She is a 2018 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), receiving a B.A. in Anthropology. During her time at UNC Anissa developed a passion for health equity and social justice. While she aspires to further her education and career in the field of Public Health, she is also dedicated to giving back to the youth in marginalized communities. Anissa exhibited this dedication during her time at UNC by serving as the Site Director for Movement of Youth, a mentoring organization for students of color, for over 2 years. Anissa is excited to continue working with Movement of Youth as an NC Campus Compact VISTA member and looks forward to all the growth that will happen this year with the organization and through her personal journey as an alumna!

Brenda Dial Deese
Site: Lumbee Tribe Boys & Girls Clubs
Partner: UNC Pembroke

Brenda Dial Deese is a member of the Lumbee Nation and a resident of Pembroke, NC. She is a retired educator from the state of North Carolina who is serving her second term as an AmeriCorps VISTA member with the Lumbee Boys & Girls Clubs. Other professional experiences include working as Program Coordinator with the Intertribal Circle for the Prevention of Substance Abuse in Native Youth and as adjunct faculty with the University of NC-Pembroke. She designed OILS (OBED Indigenous Leadership Styles assessment, as a tool to offer insight to decision-making practices, strengths, and weaknesses among Indigenous leaders. It can be found on Brenda holds a PhD in Curriculum, Instruction and Counselor Education from North Carolina State University and is board certified as a National Certified Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor- Supervisor.

Brittney DeWitte
Site: East Carolina University, Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement
Partner: Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain

Brittney works to build capacity of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain by connecting them with ECU’s Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, specifically their mentor and tutoring program, Pirate PALS. Britt graduated from East Carolina University with a degree in Recreational Therapy and is thrilled to be able to complete a year of service at my alma mater! As an undergrad, she worked as a Resident Advisor for three years, an Orientation Assistant for three summers, and spent much of my free time taking advantage of service and leadership opportunities through the Center for Civic Engagement and Leadership. In her free time, she enjoys reading, painting, playing the ukulele, hanging out with her cat Coco, or binge-watching Netflix shows with friends.

Caroline Averitt
Site: Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater High Point
Partner: High Point University

Caroline is serving at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater High Point to assist with volunteer management and recruitment as well as resource development. Her major project is supporting implementation of the club’s Child and Adult Food Care Program (CACFP) grant. Caroline graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in May 2018 (go Heels!) with a degree in history and 2 minors in music and medical anthropology. She also has a background in nutrition and dietetics, which is what led her to the nonprofit world and then to Americorps VISTA! She is looking forward to engaging with the community in High Point and helping the kids at the clubs have an amazing afterschool program.

Carolyn MacNair
Site: NC State University, Juntos
Partner: Juntos Wake County- Garner High School

Carolyn graduated from UNCW with a B.A. in Spanish and International Studies. She worked with several different nonprofits throughout Wilmington that served the Latinx community. She tutored ESL students, assisted parents in finding employment, and led a small empowerment group for refugees. As a VISTA volunteer, she will be working for a program called Juntos at NC State. Carolyn says: “I hope to empower young students to reach their full potential despite social and economic barriers and I’m looking forward to meeting people that are just as passionate about serving the community as I am!”

Evangeline Giaconia
Site: UNC Asheville, Math Department
Partner: Asheville Housing Authority

Evangeline Giaconia, originally from Brentwood, Tennessee, graduated in 2018 from Appalachian State University with a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and minors in Biology and Religious Studies. She does long-term ethnographic research in the Napo province in Ecuador and recently returned from her third trip, where she and her research partner continued their study of the indigenous language Kichwa and worked with educators to develop a language lab in the local school. She is an avid fan of languages, martial arts, and mythology, and is also a writer who hopes to one day publish young adult fantasy. As a recent graduate, she is thrilled to be an NC Campus Compact VISTA, working with a remarkable group of people committed to fighting poverty and affecting positive social change.

Kelli Early
Site: UNC Asheville, Math Department
Partner: Asheville Housing Authority

As an alumna of her Host Site, UNC-Asheville, Kelly is excited to be an Afterschool VISTA to expand the Marvelous Math Club. As an undergraduate, she fostered her interest in the social sciences, law, and political science. She is excited to join NC Campus Compact because of the impact afterschool programs had on her development, especially in the arts, and she is looking forward to expanding her roots in the Asheville community and facilitating a place for youth to be their exceptional selves.

Nataly Arriaga Frias
Site: NC State University, Juntos
Partner: Juntos Wake County- Garner High School

Nataly was born in Mexico, but has lived in Mooresville, NC for thirteen years. She graduated from NC State with a bachelor´s degree in sociology. As an undergrad, she volunteered with a fellowship that focuses on international students, an experience that helped her discover a love for helping people navigate a new culture. During her last semester at NCSU, she got a student job with Juntos and it was an eye opening experience, working with people who come from her own culture. Talking to Juntos parents made Nataly realize how much her parents could have used the information Juntos provides. She is excited to begin VISTA service, so Juntos can engage more volunteers and inform more students and parents. In her free time, Nataly enjoys painting and discovering new cuisines.

Sarah Callihan
Site: East Carolina University, Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement
Partner: Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain

Sarah is an AmeriCorps State alum, having served with a program sponsored by Iowa Campus Compact. As a VISTA, she will take on several roles at her host site, including working with campus living’s community service committee, Boys and Girls Club of the Coastal Plain, and volunteer management. She is from Dayton, Ohio and graduated from Wright State, where she recently completed a M.Ed in Student Affairs in Higher Education. There she was a part of campus ministry organizations and equal rights organizations. For fun Sarah enjoys going to the movies, photography, baking, hiking, road trips, board games and spending time with family and friends.

Sydney Haboush
Site: Western Carolina University
Partner: Language Enhancement After School Program (LEAP)

As the VISTA member at Western Carolina University, Sydney is primarily responsible for recruiting and training volunteers for the Language Enhancement After School Program for English learner students. Hailing from Fort Mill, South Carolina, Sydney graduated from Winthrop University with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and minors in history and international studies. During her undergraduate career, she was an active participant in Model United Nations and Alternative Spring Break and did a semester abroad in Prague, Czech Republic. The week-long trips of Alternative Spring Break were so impactful and ultimately inspired her to serve with AmeriCorps VISTA. In her free time, she enjoys reading, getting creative, and spending time in the great outdoors!

Siera Nie
Site: Movement of Youth
Partner: UNC-Chapel Hill

Siera is serving as a Site Operations VISTA at Movement of Youth. She was born and raised in Charlotte, and is a recent graduate of UNC Charlotte Graduate), where she earned her Bachelor’s of Social Work. She has a passion for serving vulnerable populations. During her undergraduate studies, Siera had the opportunity to work with the elderly, children, and homeless families. Her experience involves providing direct service, but as a VISTA she is looking to create something that is more sustainable. In other words, “build a fence” to prevent people from falling into the stream. For fun, Siera likes to create crafts, knit, find recipes on Pinterest and prepare them, learn different languages via Duolingo and try out local ethnic restaurants.

Tayla Clark
Site: Warren Wilson College
Partner: Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Western NC and other agencies

Tayla is from a small town in east Tennessee, and she attended college at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, North Carolina. Tayla graduated with a degree in biology, and she worked for WWC’s Center for Community Engagement throughout her four years there. Tayla is returning to Warren Wilson and the Center for Community Engagement as a VISTA this year to provide support for several after-school programs in local elementary, middle, and high schools. She is most excited to continue working with these programs in a new position and to support the students of Warren Wilson as they engage with these programs.

Headshot images provided by members.

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