A cohort of 16 University of Illinois at Springfield students -- 12 first-year students and four upperclassmen -- have been selected to participate in the 2008-2009 Midwest Campus Compact Citizen-Scholar (M3C) Fellows AmeriCorps Program, an initiative that creates opportunities for students to work together as agents of civic change in their local communities and on their campuses. UIS is one of only seven universities in the state (and the only U of I campus) that participates in this AmeriCorps Education Award program.
Students chosen for the program receive a $1,000 award to use toward educational expenses in return for 300 hours of community service. Selected students have demonstrated academic potential as well as an interest in service and civic engagement activities.
Kelly Thompson, director of UIS' Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center, noted, "We will be working with several local not-for-profit agencies that have agreed to be host sites for the students. When it's all said and done, this UIS group alone will have completed almost 5,000 hours of community service." Thompson said that UIS received a grant through Midwest Campus Compact and the Corporation for National and Community Service to fund the student awards.
"It's a wonderful way for UIS to be able to provide financial support to our students while also assisting the community," she added.
First-year students are required to meet with upperclassmen peer mentors once a week and with the entire cohort once a month. Each upperclassman mentors three first-year students.
Typical activities for AmeriCorps students include tutoring younger students; working with Habitat for Humanity; volunteering at Boys and Girls Clubs or Big Brothers/Big Sisters; working at animal humane societies; and serving at hospitals and healthcare centers. In addition to community service activities, the UIS group will participate in the Illinois AmeriCorps service day at the Capitol in October.
This year's group of first-year students, their hometowns and majors, are: Cierra Davis, Chicago, Business Administration; Monique Johnson, Chicago, Psychology; Erin Jones, Morton Grove, Liberal Studies; Jackson Kern, Kansas, Business Administration; Tia King, Windsor, Social Work/Criminal Justice; Xuan Pham, Chicago, Biology; Vanessa Pulido, Chicago, Social Work; Lawrence Salley, Belleville, Legal Studies; Denise Scott, Chicago, Criminal Justice; Whitley Simmons, Moro, Legal Studies; Shelva Stinson, Chicago, Legal Studies; and Rashonda Williams, Chicago, Business Administration.
Peer mentors are: Jaleesa Earthely, Chicago, Psychology (sophomore); Amy Hargis, Sparta, Biology (sophomore); Brittane Maddox, Calumet City, Psychology (junior); and Josephine Marquez, Round Lake Beach, Political Studies (sophomore).
Others Illinois campuses that participate in M3C Fellows AmeriCorps Program are Rend Lake College, DePaul University, Loyola University of Chicago, Rockford College, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, and Trinity Christian College.
The Midwest Campus Compact Citizen-Scholar Fellows Program is a 10-state initiative led by the Wisconsin Campus Compact and committed to integrating education with a lifelong commitment to active community and civic engagement.