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Junior Deborah Gunsallus wins Community Impact Award

Deborah Gunsallus

Deborah Gunsallus, a junior at UNC Pembroke and a student employee of the Office of Community and Civic Engagement (CCE), won the Community Impact Award at the annual North Carolina Campus Compact CSNAP Conference.

North Carolina Campus Compact was formed in 1993 and defines their mission as being a collaborative network of colleges and universities committed to educating students for civic and social responsibility, partnering with communities for positive change and strengthening democracy.

The annual conference brings students together to network, share ideas and develop skills to help them become more effective leaders of community and civic engagement efforts. The award recognizes a student from each campus who demonstrates a commitment to addressing community issues and the ability to lead and inspire fellow students.

Upon receiving the award, Deborah encouraged everyone to get involved by saying, “never underestimate your impact. Be profound, and positive because what you do has a greater impact than you realize.”

Deborah has volunteered with CCE at UNC Pembroke since her freshman year, serving as a site leader for the Days of Service events since her first semester. She has participated in several alternative break trips, where students use their fall or spring break time to travel and serve other communities, and even led the most recent trip to Atlanta.

She is currently enrolled in UNCP’s Change Agent Academy, a peer mentor leadership program for students interested in social justice and advocacy. As a leader who has helped dozens of peers find their passion for service, she looks to foster partnership and connection. For example, Deborah is working with UNCP’s Greener Coalition and the campus community garden to establish a plot that will supply fresh produce to the pantry.

Because of her strong commitment to service and exceptional work ethic, CCE recently hired Deborah as a student service leader for the CARE Resource Center, which raised $20,000 and collected 14,000 donations in 2017-18. 

“Without dedicated students like Deborah, the CARE Resource Center would not be able to serve our campus and community in the way that it does. The center is operated entirely by students, and we rely heavily on their advocacy to let other students know about our services.  Deborah is a great example of how students are supporting each other on our campus,” stated CCE Director Christie Poteet. 

CCE serves as the hub for service at UNC Pembroke where students are eagerly seeking ways to get involved and gain service hours, and where the community knows they can lean on in times of need. In 2017-18, 34,286 total service hours were recorded which translates to approximately $827,664 according to the National Value of Volunteer Time. CCE also offers 139 academic service-learning courses, and has seen 1,817 students enrolled in these courses. 

“As demonstrated by our numbers and students like Deborah, service is an important part of the culture at UNCP. We have dedicated students, staff and faculty who are committed to fostering a campus environment that promotes service and engagement and fulfills our obligation as an institution of learning to serve our community in a way that improves the quality of life for everyone,” Poteet continued. 

The Office of Community and Civic Engagement is a department within the Division of Student Affairs at UNC Pembroke. To learn more about CCE or to get involved in service opportunities, visit


Leslie Garvin (left) executive director of North Carolina Campus Compact presents UNCP junior Deborah Gunsallus with the Community Impact Award