Eliana Jones, Katherine Wolsiefer, Emily Infinger and Best Buddies New Hampshire in Plymouth were recently honored by Plymouth State University with Campus Compact for New Hampshire’s (CCNH) annual Presidents’ Awards and Newman Civic Fellowship. The awardees were celebrated in a recent virtual ceremony.
CCNH is a statewide consortium of college and university presidents that is dedicated to advancing the civic purposes of higher education. PSU President Donald Birx, Ph.D., and members of the PSU community nominated the individuals and groups for their commitment to serving the campus and Plymouth-area communities.
“The recipients of this year’s Campus Compact Awards have been truly impactful in making Plymouth State University and our greater community a more welcoming place for all individuals,” said Birx. “Eliana and Professor Wolsiefer truly exemplify Plymouth State University’s culture of service, and they are deeply committed to creating a supportive and enriching campus experience for all PSU students.”
Eliana Jones, a PSU Class of 2022 graduate from Hyde Park, Massachusetts, was honored with the Presidents’ Leadership Award, which recognizes students or student groups who have made outstanding contributions to civic engagement. Jones has revived the University’s Black Student Union, serving as President of the organization during her senior year and hosting multiple events for students of color on campus. One event hosted more than 50 Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) students and numerous white allies to discuss challenges at PSU and how to make campus safer and more welcoming. She is also involved in the Cluster Pedagogy Learning Community at the Open Learning & Teaching Collaborative (CoLab), where she consistently helps move the topic of racial justice to the center of campus conversations.
Katherine Wolsiefer, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at PSU, was honored with the Presidents’ Good Steward Award, given to a faculty, administration or staff member who has contributed his or her professional expertise in service to the wider community and who has significantly advanced public service on his or her campus. Wolsiefer created a series on implicit bias for the CoLab that was transformational for participants. Her research in this area is very important and serves as an integral part of how PSU is working to become a better community for students, faculty and staff of color. As President Birx noted, all of us, no matter what our background, play a role in creating a welcoming and inclusive environment and it starts with honest and open dialog.
PSU recognized Best Buddies of New Hampshire in Plymouth with the Community Partner Award, which is given to a non-profit organization that has enhanced the quality of life in the community and engaged in the development of sustained, reciprocal partnerships with a college or university. Best Buddies has not only been impactful on PSU’s campus, it serves broader communities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendship, dedicated employment, leadership development and living communities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through Best Buddies, PSU students have the opportunity to engage in friendships with local community members, which helps to create a more inclusive and compassionate community for all people.
Emily Infinger, a senior from Rochester, New Hampshire, was named one of this year’s Newman Civic Fellows. The Fellowship recognizes and supports community-committed students who are changemakers and public problem-solvers at Campus Compact member institutions. Infinger was nominated by President Birx on the basis of her potential for public leadership. Infinger is majoring in psychology, with a concentration in mental health and serves as a Student Impact Ambassador in the Office of Community Impact and she is the President of the PSU Volunteers organization. She has coordinated the annual Angel Tree Project, which partners with 15 community agencies to provide winter needs and holiday gifts to more than 350 children in the greater Plymouth region. Throughout the pandemic, Infinger worked with the Office of Community Impact to plan and implement remote and indirect service experiences for students.
“Emily is dedicated to taking an ethical approach to community engagement and this has been continuously reflected in her leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Birx. “Her involvement on campus continues to foster meaningful opportunities for students to learn and grow as active citizens.”
CCNH’s programs and resources include training, advocacy, funding, legislative outreach and recognition for community-based work that both enhances student learning and provides needed public services. Annually, more than 23,000 student volunteers from CCNH’s member campuses serve some six million hours in local communities through initiatives run or supported by their institutions, providing millions of dollars in services.