Rollins Named a Finalist for Most Engaged Campus

Florida Campus Compact has selected Rollins as a finalist for its Most Engaged Campus of the Year award.

Students in the community engagement course Strategies for Changemakers work with local nonprofit Fleet Farming to turn residential lawns into micro-farms. Photo by Scott Cook. Students in the community engagement course Strategies for Changemakers work with local nonprofit Fleet Farming to turn residential lawns into micro-farms. Photo by Scott Cook.

Florida Campus Compact—a national coalition whose mission is to advance high-impact practices that enhance student civic engagement—has named Rollins a finalist for Most Engaged Campus of the Year. This award recognizes Florida institutions of higher education for exemplary commitment to advancing the civic purposes of higher education by improving community life and educating students for civic and social responsibility.

Among the College’s programs that stood out to the application committee were the annual SPARC (Service, Passion, Action, Rollins College) Day of Service; Immersion: Citizens Take Action alternative-break service experiences; internships with nonprofits; and the Rollins College Democracy Project, whose efforts garnered Rollins recognition as a Silver Campus for Excellence in Student Voter Engagement in the 2016 election.

“Being recognized as a finalist for the Florida Campus Compact Engaged Campus Award acknowledges our institutional commitment to community and civic engagement,” says Meredith Hein, director of the Center for Leadership & Community Engagement. “As an institution, our mission is brought to life every day through student engagement, faculty scholarship, administrative support, and community partnership. I am proud to be a part of an institution that is leading the way on the national level by fostering a strong commitment to this work.”

Campus Compact has bestowed two other recent honors on Rollins in the area of community and civic engagement. The first came this past spring when Skylar Knight ’19—who is also a member of the College’s Bonner Leader Program—was named a 2018 Newman Civic Fellow, a prestigious fellowship recognizing and supporting students who are leading solutions to challenges like disabilities and voter disenfranchisement facing communities across the country. The second—which coincides with the College being named a finalist for Most Engaged Campus—honors anthropology professor Nolan Kline with the Early Career Engaged Scholarship Faculty award. This award recognizes a faculty member who has between one and five years of full-time college-level experience for contributing to the integration of service and/or community-based learning into the curriculum. 

The Alfond Scholars and Bonner Leaders teamed up on an Immersion at Long & Scott Farms in Apopka, engaging with community members and learning about their important work with immigrants and farmworkers. Photo by Scott Cook. The Alfond Scholars and Bonner Leaders teamed up on an Immersion at Long & Scott Farms in Apopka, engaging with community members and learning about their important work with immigrants and farmworkers. Photo by Scott Cook.

In addition to the Campus Compact honors, Rollins’ commitment to civic engagement has recently received a variety of external accolades. According to Break Away’s 2017–18 National Chapter Survey, Rollins was ranked No. 1 for the highest percentage of students who participate in alternative spring break programs. Break Away is a national nonprofit organization that promotes quality alternative break programs in which groups of college students provide volunteer services while focusing on social issues. In August, 15 Rollins students were chosen for the U.N.-backed 2018 Millennium Fellowship, a highly selective leadership development program that challenges students to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Also in August, the College was designated a voter-friendly campus for the second consecutive year by Campus Vote Project and Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, a pair of national nonpartisan organizations that work to bolster efforts to help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process. 

Here on campus, we’re hard at work breathing new life into a campus icon, Mills Memorial Hall. Slated to open in August 2019, the new Mills will be a hive of student engagement that promises to take the College’s success in civic and community engagement to new heights. The open-concept design—which will co-locate like-minded programs throughout its three levels—will enable students to better connect, build community, and work on group projects that showcase a 21st-century liberal arts education in action.