Thomas Bass is a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social work at Fayetteville State University.
Campus Compact, a Boston-based non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education, has announced the 290 students who will make up the organization's 2020-2021 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows. The 2020 cohort-the largest group of Newman Civic Fellows to date-includes Thomas Bass, a student at Fayetteville State University.
The Newman Civic Fellowship is a yearlong program for students from Campus Compact member institutions. The students selected for the fellowship are leaders on their campuses who demonstrate a commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities locally, nationally, and internationally.
Bass, who is blind, is a senior pursuing a bachelor's degree in social work. As part of his community service work, he successfully lobbied the Fayetteville City Council for more funding on behalf of the blind community. Additionally, he co-sponsored an event for World Sight Day with the Vision Resource Center so students could experience life as someone who is blind and empathize with the many obstacles they face.
The fellowship is named for the late Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact's founders, who was a tireless advocate for civic engagement in higher education. In the spirit of Dr. Newman's leadership, Campus Compact member presidents and chancellors may nominate one student from their institution for the fellowship.
"Mr. Bass has challenged community leaders, policymakers, and elected leaders to address the needs of vision-impaired citizens," said FSU Interim Chancellor Peggy Valentine. "He has a strong record of community service and he is committed to initiating social change that will enhance the lives of individuals who suffer the stigma of visual impairment. He seeks to educate appropriate personnel at universities, hospitals, and other organizations on the rights and personal needs of the sight-impaired individual."
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," said Campus Compact President Andrew Seligsohn. "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."
The Newman Civic Fellowship is supported by the KPMG Foundation and Newman's Own Foundation. Learn more at compact.org/newman-civic-fellowship.