A high school course on race and power had a profound impact on Brandon Ekweonu '20, a black studies major from Long Island City, N.Y., and motivated him to focus his work on social inequity and institutionalized oppression.
Since then, Ekweonu has been involved in community initiatives such as Blueprints, which identifies and recommends effective youth development programs, and recently received a Newman Civic Fellowship in recognition of this work.
The award, named for Campus Compact co-founder Frank Newman, is a one-year experience emphasizing personal, professional, and civic growth. It seeks to recognize and support community-committed students who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country.
Ekweonu has also applied his coursework on social entrepreneurship to his role as an advisory team member for Love Now Media, a non-profit social enterprise that tells stories highlighting justice, wellness, and equity.
"Some of the work and the projects I have been involved in so far, from on-campus work with Blueprints to the off-campus work I have done with Love Now Media in Philadelphia, has provided me with some perspective on what different ways community work can manifest itself," says Ekweonu. "Thinking about all the different kinds of approaches people take to contributing to their communities is exciting and inspiring."
The fellowship also provides opportunities for connection and networking, including a national conference in November of Newman Civic Fellows in partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.
"I plan to take advantage of the opportunity to network with peers doing similar work," he says. "I'm hoping to make connections with other fellows that could possibly result in direct collaborations or linked initiatives because I not only want to learn from our sharing experiences with each other, but I also want to learn from thinking and acting with the other fellows."