Barry McNamara  |   Published March 09, 2021

‘Inspiring Problem Solver’

Shay Hafner ’22 named Newman Civic Fellow for 2021-22.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth College’s Shay Hafner ’22 has been named to an exemplary group of students from around the country who are looking “to change the world for the better.”

SHAY HAFNER: Monmouth College junior named Newman Civic Fellow for 2021-22. SHAY HAFNER: Monmouth College junior named Newman Civic Fellow for 2021-22.The data science and political science major from Sterling, Illinois, is one of 212 community-committed students named as 2021 Newman Civic Fellows by Campus Compact.

“We are pleased to acknowledge such an inspiring group of emerging public problem-solvers,” said Campus Compact President Andrew J. Seligsohn.

Monmouth political science professor Mike Nelson said the honor is given in “the spirit of service.”

“This national fellowship is a great opportunity for our students and represents the spirit of service that inspired the creation of our Center for Civic and Social Change,” he said. “We are excited to see students like Shay who are finding ways to combine their academic interests with ways to make positive changes in the world.”

Hafner believes that service is a major component of problem-solving.

“The problems in society can feel so overwhelming with how big and systemic they are, but service can make such a big difference, especially if a group of people works together,” he said.

Hafner speaks from experience, as he worked last spring on a Mississippi River cleanup project in Memphis.

“That was my favorite service project since I’ve been on campus,” he said of the alternative spring break trip. “I don’t remember the exact amount, but we as a group were able to clean up so much garbage, even with the trip being cut short due to COVID-19.”

“I am most excited to communicate with the other students who were also recognized. I’ll be able to exchange ideas with people from so many different locations and backgrounds.” Shay Hafner

As a Newman Civic Fellow, Hafner will have access to a variety of virtual and in-person learning opportunities during the 2021-22 academic year, including a national conference for Newman Civic Fellows. He will also have access to exclusive scholarship and postgraduate opportunities that support fellows in their personal, professional and civic growth.

“Being named a Newman Civic Fellow will provide me with opportunities to grow as a leader and, hopefully, make me better equipped to bring about some sort of social change,” said Hafner, a graduate of Newman Central Catholic High School in Sterling. “I am most excited to communicate with the other students who were also recognized. I’ll be able to exchange ideas with people from so many different locations and backgrounds.”

The 2021 Newman Civic Fellows national conference will take place in Boston in spring 2022, shortly before Hafner graduates from Monmouth.

“I am still exploring options for what to do after I graduate, including graduate school,” he said. “However, I do know I want to work in relation to the government, likely either with campaigning or as a part of an advocacy group. I’m not sure what my opportunities will be after college, but I hope to find a job that will let me use my passion for civic service to change the world for the better.”

The Newman Civic Fellowship was created in honor of Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders and an advocate for the role of higher education in preparing students for active and engaged citizenship.

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