Jahdai Guerrero, a sophomore Psychology/Clinical Counseling major, has been named a Newman Civic Fellow for 2020 by Campus Compact, a Boston-based non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education.
The Newman Civic Fellowship is a yearlong program for students recognized as leaders on their campuses who demonstrate a commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities locally, nationally, and internationally. The 2020 cohort - the largest group of Newman Civic Fellows to date—comprises 290 students from 39 states, Washington, D.C., Greece, Lebanon, and Mexico.
“I am an immigrant,” Guerroero said. “This is the main reason why I have decided to address issues of social justice.
“I started by volunteering at a monastery in Arizona during spring break (in 2019) where I had the chance of interacting with different individuals. I had the opportunity of interacting with the LGBTQ+ community, and they clearly expressed a fear of going back to their countries because they were going to be end up being killed by gangs for having a different gender identity.
“They also explained to us the inhumane treatment that they received on the Mexico/U.S. border. As an immigrant I have come to experience the injustice and mistreatment human beings receive. I have come to understand that the social justice system in the U.S. does not address immigrants’ rights as human beings. The policies implemented are only based in creating greater immigration barriers.
“I am currently doing research on asylum seekers and the different ways these individuals can find a way to obtain a legal status. I am also presenting at the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute regarding asylum policies implemented in the U.S.”
Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides the students with a variety of learning and networking opportunities that emphasize personal, professional, and civic growth. Each year, Fellows are invited to a national, in-person conference of Newman Civic Fellows and participate in numerous virtual training and networking opportunities. The fellowship also provides fellows with pathways to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.
“We are proud to recognize each of these extraordinary student leaders and thrilled to have the opportunity to engage with them,” Andrew Seligsohn, President of Campus Compact, said. “The stories of this year’s Newman Civic Fellows make clear that they are committed to finding solutions to pressing problems in their communities and beyond. That is what Campus Compact is about, and it’s what our country and our world desperately need.”