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Friday, November 19, 2010

UNCP’s Ashley Lowery wins statewide award for service

UNC Pembroke’s Ashley Lowery was named North Carolina Campus Compact’s fifth Community Impact Student Award.

Ashley LoweryLowery was one of 34 college students across the state who received the award for making significant, innovative contributions to their campus’ efforts to address local community needs. She also received a Volunteer Certificate of Appreciation from Gov. Beverly Perdue.

As a freshman, Lowery served as a student service leader with the Center for Leadership and Service. It was her job to plan, develop and implement projects and educational programs that engage students in service.

She initiated a political debate with candidates for chair of the Lumbee Tribe that was attended by nearly 200 students and community members. She also served as a Relay for Life team leader and worked with the Indian Education Resource Center to develop cultural awareness programs for local youth.

Just a sophomore, Lowery has compiled a remarkable record of service at UNCP. Her community service habit followed her from St. Pauls High School, where she organized canned food drives, youth outreach and trash clean-ups.

As a new college student, Lowery encountered one major difficulty.

“When I got to UNCP, I didn’t know how to find opportunities to volunteer,” Lowery said. “I was sad.”

She was not sad for long after joining the Center for Leadership and Service as a work-study student.

“It was perfect,” Lowery said. “I like UNCP a lot, and I am getting better at organizing events.”

In mid-November, she worked on National Hunger and Homelessness Week and began planning the annual alternative Spring Break. The hardest thing, Lowery said, is recruiting volunteers.

“It’s so much fun and such a good feeling,” she said. “Everybody should volunteer.”

When Lowery talks about a project, she concludes with a particular concrete result. Something good was provided for someone in need, whether it was refugees from Ghana, the elderly, homeless, AIDS victims, single mothers or American Indian children.

“That’s the way I am,” she said. “I want to touch people’s lives and accomplish things.”

Aubrey Swett, director of the Center for Leadership and Service, said Lowery is an “awesome example of student leadership at UNC Pembroke.”

“She has grown in her knowledge and passion for service and seeks to engage her colleagues through service opportunities that meet community needs,” Swett said. “She is dedicated to creating awareness, advancing initiatives and educating the campus and local communities on culturally sensitive and social justice issues that are prevalent to the university region and global societies.

“Her community impact through service has extended far beyond our state borders,” Swett concluded.

The awards were presented at two Campus Compact Student Conferences that brought together more than 300 college students and guests representing 34 North Carolina higher education institutions.

Compact Executive Director Dr. Lisa Keyne presented the awards with the Rev. James Gailliard, CEO of the Impact Center and Senior Pastor of Word Tabernacle Church.

North Carolina Campus Compact builds collaborations amongst public, independent and community colleges and universities. Presidents and chancellors commit their institutions to being “engaged campuses” that enhance a student’s sense of responsibility, citizenship, leadership and awareness of community, and impact the community by partnering with local organizations to address real needs. For additional information about NC Campus Compact or the student conferences, visit www.nccampuscompact.org.

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