We CU Honors Students and Partners for Making a Positive Impact in Champaign-Urbana

5/4/2023 9:44:17 AM Raphael Portillo

On Thursday, April 27, the We CU Community Engaged Scholars (We CU) program hosted its annual recognition ceremony to honor the positive impact our students, instructors, and community partners have had in the Champaign-Urbana community this year.

With support from the University of Illinois Alumni Association, students, faculty, staff, and community partners came together for We CU’s first in-person celebration at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center. It was a wonderful opportunity for all to connect and celebrate the great work we can achieve when we come together to address areas of critical need in our community. Representatives from Urbana School District 116, The Reading Group, the CU Community Fab Lab, The Immigration Project, the H.O.Y.C.E Center, and the Humanities Research Institute were among those in attendance!

Participants at the 2022-2023 We CU Celebration

This year, 611 students spent 14,387 hours collaborating with more than 114 community partners to complete a total of 161 community-based projects. Hailing from 12 colleges across the university, the students participated either directly with We CU or through one of the 48 classes We CU worked with.  

In addition to celebrating these remarkable outcomes, we want to recognize a few of our amazing students whose service with We CU has had a significant impact. The following individuals have completed over 200 hours of service to ensure the needs of the Champaign-Urbana community are continually met. 

  • Julia Poel, a senior studying Elementary Education and Spanish (301.5 hours)
  • Kennedy Campbell, a senior majoring in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences (274 hours)
  • Daniel Kaufmann, a senior majoring in Bioengineering (265.25 hours) 
  • Elizabeth Coder, a 3rd year PhD student in Education Policy, Organization, & Leadership, concentrating in Higher Education & Global Studies in Education (206.5 hours)

Julia, Kennedy, Daniel, and Elizabeth's commitment to service is a testament to their dedication to making a positive impact on the world around them. Through their service experiences, they have developed valuable skills such as teamwork, leadership, and empathy, all of which will serve them well in their future endeavors. They have also had the opportunity to connect with individuals from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, which has broadened their understanding of the world and strengthened their sense of community. Their commitment to service serves as an inspiration to others to get involved and make a difference in the world.

Julia Poel, a senior studying Elementary Education and Spanish, completed 301 hours of service as an Illinois student. She is thankful for the opportunities We CU granted her to collaborate with her community and share her experiences. She plans to carry these skills with her as she starts her graduate studies in Education Policy at Columbia University in New York City.

We CU scholar Kennedy Campbell is presented with her We CU certificate.
We CU scholar Kennedy Campbell is presented with her We CU certificate.

Kennedy Campbell is a senior majoring in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences. Kennedy completed nearly 275 service hours as a We CU Scholar. She is passionate about giving back to the community and making a difference in the world around her. Kennedy plans to pursue a master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Chicago after graduation. 

Daniel Kaufman is a senior majoring in Bioengineering who plans to attend medical school after graduation. Daniel has completed over 265 hours of service during his time in Illinois. These service experiences have taught him how acts of service can unify people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

Elizabeth Coder is a 3rd year PhD student in Education Policy, Organization, & Leadership, concentrating in Higher Education & Global Studies in Education. Elizabeth completed 206.5 service hours. She found fulfillment outside of school through her service work with Books to Prisoner. Elizabeth hopes to work as a teaching professor and to continue working with undergraduate students. 

These students are shining examples of the importance of service and its ability to bring people together to make a positive impact on the world. Congratulations again to Julia, Kennedy, Daniel, and Elizabeth on their impressive accomplishments!

A PDF of the presentation highlighting the collective impact of We CU’s students and partners is now available and posted on the We CU website.  

We CU is grateful for the support of the Office of the Chancellor Public Engagement, the Humanities Research Institute, the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute, College of Education, and School of Social Work. We CU will continue programming during the 2023- 2024 academic year. For more information about joining, We CU, visit wecu.illinois.edu.