Vanessa Hope “an inspiring student leader”
When her friends and family gathered in Wyllie Hall recently, it was the celebratory end of an impressive year for UW-Parkside student Vanessa Hope. The senior pre-pharmacy major was honored as a 2012 Newman Civic Fellow by Chancellor Debbie Ford and a roomful of well-wishers, capping off an award filled and rewarding year.
Called "an inspiring student leader" by Ford, Hope was praised for her work to find solutions to community challenges. She founded and served as president of the UW-Parkside chapter of Active Minds, a student-run mental health awareness group. The organization's goal is to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
"I started Active Minds because mental health is kind of a hush-hush thing. And I was a little bit ashamed about having mental health issues. I didn't want to be ashamed anymore and I wanted other people not to be ashamed and get help if they needed it," Hope said.
Her work as a member of the university's Pre-Health Club contributed to Hope's Newman Civic Fellow selection. That organization strengthens the community through partcipation in Make a Difference Day and by purchasing and serving meals at area homeless shelters.
"Students like Vanessa Hope are the backbone of the university's strong ongoing commitment to community engagement," Ford stated. "Her on-campus efforts through Active Minds and her volunteer work beyond the campus emphasize the importance our faculty and students place on community-based learning and service."
Ford noted that during spring semester, Hope was honored repeatedly during the Student Leadership Awards and Recognition Banquet. In addition to Active Minds receiving the New Student Organization of the Year, Hope was a co-recipient of the Senior Student Involvement Award.
Hope was among the 162 students in 32 states who were honored by Campus Compact (CC) as a Newman Civic Fellow. CC is a national coalition of nearly 1,200 college and university presidents committed to improving community life and educating students for civic and social responsibility. Chancellor Ford actively supports Campus Compact.
Hope joins Kathryn Evans as a UW-Parkside Newman Civic Fellow honoree. Evans was honored in 2011.In the photo, Vanessa Hope is flanked by Chancellor Ford, left, and Vanessa's mother, Dawn Hope.