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UNC Pembroke graduate student honored as 2017 Newman Civic Fellow


PEMBROKE, N.C. – Natural Breeden, a graduate student at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, has been named a member of Campus Compact’s 2017 class of Newman Civic Fellows.

Campus Compact, a Boston-based non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education, recently announced the 273 students who will make up this year’s cohort.

At UNC Pembroke, Breeden is a leader in the university's efforts to address hunger and homelessness. The Master of Social Work student manages the university’s CARE Resource Center, which provides food and clothing assistance to students, faculty and staff in need.

Breeden recently worked with the Office for Community and Civic Engagement to establish an off-campus emergency housing program for homeless students. As the manager of this initiative, she was tasked with developing the policies and procedures for the program and housing facility, and works with a community-based organization to provide day-to-day oversight of the facility.

“Natural approaches her service with a level of professionalism, compassion and maturity that inspires her peers and has earned her the distinction as one of UNC Pembroke's most impactful student leaders,” said UNCP Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings.

As a 2017 Newman Civic Fellow, Breeden will be a part of the first cohort to benefit from a completely re-designed fellowship. The Newman Civic Fellowship, named for Campus Compact co-founder Frank Newman, is a one-year experience emphasizing personal, professional, and civic growth.

Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides a variety of learning and networking opportunities, including a national conference of Newman Civic Fellows in partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The fellowship also provides fellows with access to exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.

“As a student at UNC Pembroke, I have had the opportunity to identify and address issues facing our community and develop initiatives that promote civic engagement competency among my peers,” Breeden said.

“As the manager of UNC Pembroke's on-campus food pantry, I have witnessed firsthand the struggles related to food insecurity many students and community members face,” she said.

“Though I did not start the pantry, I have had a hand in developing a robust program that addresses a serious need on our campus and in our community.”

Breeden assisted UNCP with establishing an emergency housing program for students. Since opening, they have provided housing for 11 students who would have otherwise been homeless.  

“The cultivation of community-committed leaders has never been more crucial,” said Campus Compact president Andrew Seligsohn. “We rebuilt the Newman Civic Fellowship experience because our country needs more people who know how to bring communities together for positive change.”

The Newman Civic Fellowship is supported by the KPMG Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation.