UNI wins community engagement awards

University of Northern Iowa won several awards for community engagement announced Monday.

A UNI professor who created a community project, a sophomore social work major who works with refugees  and several UNI projects were among the five award winners recognized by the Iowa and Minnesota Campus Compact. The awards go  to individuals and organizations whose accomplishments exemplify and celebrate the public purpose at the heart of higher education.

“We're excited that UNI is being recognized for our faculty, staff, and students' outstanding commitment to service and community engagement,” said Kristina Kofoot, UNI community engagement program coordinator. “We truly appreciate Campus Compact allowing us this opportunity to lift up and celebrate this important work.” 

The individual awardees include:

  • UNI Associate Professor of communication and media Danielle Mcgeough, who was awarded the President’s Civic Engagement Leadership Award for her work as the team lead for Cultivating Justice: A Quest Towards Racial Equity. The Quest is a unique six-week experience that seeks to activate and elevate local efforts towards racial justice with a focus on community improvement. 
  • Sophomore social work major Joana Lwin, who was awarded the Presidents’ Civic Engagement Leadership Award for her work with EMBARC, a nonprofit organization that serves refugees in the Cedar Valley. Lwin’s efforts focus on equity and inclusion for individuals with English language barriers. 
  • The Northeast Iowa Food Bank, which was awarded the Presidents’ Community Partner Awards. The food bank works with UNI to provide nutritious food and grocery products to nonprofit organizations and individuals in northeast Iowa, while offering hunger education programs to the area and those in need. UNI and the food bank have a long-standing history of partnership that includes MLK Day of Service events, service-learning partnerships and the Panther Pantry.
  • Blackhawk County YWCA and UNI’s Languages and Literatures Department was awarded the Engaged Campus Award for Community Collaboration. For five years, the Department of Languages and Literatures has brought language partners to the English class at the Blackhawk County YWCA, which serves immigrants and refugees in the Cedar Valley area.
  • The UNI project Cultivating Justice: A Quest Toward Racial Equity, which was awarded the Engaged Campus Award for Emerging Innovation. The project is a collection of resources made by and for people in the Cedar Valley to promote racial justice and activate systemic change in our communities. 

UNI was represented in both the Presidents’ Awards, which recognize outstanding contributions in civic and community engagement by students, faculty, staff, collaborative teams, and community organizations, and the Engaged Campus Awards, which lift up outstanding achievements in the categories of alumni leadership, emerging innovation and community collaboration from across IAMNCC’s network of 59 member colleges and universities. 

In addition to a list of all awardees organized by awarding or nominating member college or university included below, lists of awardees by award category with images and additional description of each recipient’s accomplishments are available on the Iowa Campus Compact website and the Minnesota Campus Compact website

Iowa & Minnesota Campus Compact (IAMNCC) is a network of 59 member colleges and universities committed to strengthening the capacity for civic engagement and campus-community partnership in the service of fulfilling the public purposes at the heart of higher education.