College of Liberal Arts student Samira Ahmed has spent a large part of her undergraduate career promoting service-learning and community engagement. This April she was recognized as the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities recipient of Minnesota Campus Compact’s Presidents’ Student Leadership Award for her contributions to integrating civic engagement into the college experience.
As a peer advisor at the University’s Center for Community-Engaged Learning (CCEL), Ahmed has created service-learning and volunteer opportunities by matching students with community partners. “A lot of students want to volunteer, but don’t have the time. My work is about tailoring opportunities to each student’s specific needs,” she said.
Ahmed is currently co-chair of the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group – Twin Cities Chapter (MPIRG). Since joining MPRIG, Ahmed has focused on a need for increased representation for women of color on the board and has stressed the importance of including diverse voices in the group. “I realized that people weren’t asking questions about representation on the board, so I think my part of my role there has been to consistently raise the issue of diverse representation,” said Ahmed.
The Presidents’ Student Leadership Award provides validation of the impact Ahmed has made during her undergraduate career. “It means a lot that the people at CCEL recognized the work I’d been doing enough to nominate me. More importantly, this shows that people are recognizing the benefits of community-engaged learning,” said Ahmed.