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UIS student among finalists for prestigious national humanitarian award

July 22, 2004

SPRINGFIELD - University of Illinois at Springfield student Elizabeth Moran has been selected as a finalist for the 2004 Howard R. Swearer Humanitarian Award, presented by Campus Compact to five college students nationally in recognition of outstanding public service. Moran was nominated for the honor by UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen.

Campus Compact is a coalition of more than 850 college and university presidents committed to the civic purposes of higher education, particularly community service that develops students’ citizenship skills and values. Swearer Awards are made to students who demonstrate commitment to public service as well as an innovative approach to social, educational, environmental, health, economic, or legal issues within their communities. Nominees must have connected service with academic study, developed systems to ensure long-term support for projects, and linked service with a larger social context.

“I recommended Liz for the award without hesitation or reservation,” said Chancellor Ringeisen. “Her commitment to public service is outstanding. She has been involved in service both on campus and off and she is constantly engaging students, faculty, and community members in conversations about social change and encouraging people to think critically.  It is not an understatement to say that Liz’s presence has invigorated many members of the UIS and Springfield communities.”

A senior this fall majoring in Political Studies, Moran was in the original class of Capital Scholars and has been involved in a number of civic engagement and activist issues while at UIS.

She is a member of the board of directors and volunteer coordinator for the Heartland Peace Center, a local non-profit organization, and in spring 2004 also established and was part of the volunteer teaching staff at the Heartland Peace Academy, a school for social justice education designed to empower students to act on a wide spectrum of issues. 

At the time, Moran noted that the idea for the school was inspired by the frustration of students who were upset about the problems facing society today but felt they lacked the education and skills to bring about positive change. 

“Peace is more than the absence of violence,” she said. “It takes a lifetime commitment to change the way you speak to others. People have to be willing to withstand the pressure of conformity. Education helps build the confidence people need to speak out against injustice.”

This summer Moran is one of three National Raise Your Voice Fellows, chosen from 250 applicants nationwide, who are working in the National Campus Compact headquarters in Providence, Rhode Island. The fellows are charged with compiling the experiences and perspectives of the more than 450 campuses and 200,000 students who took part in the recent Raise Your Voice: Student Action for Change Campaign, a two-year program designed to create opportunities for students to contribute to issues that they care about through community-building and political and civic engagement.

Moran’s other activities have included being part of a group of UIS students who traveled to Nicaragua to work on a service project with Witness for Peace. She is president of the club Campus Greens, served as co-facilitator for the Student Civic Engagement dialogs hosted by UIS in the fall of 2002, and has managed the campaign of a candidate for Springfield City Council. She served on the Illinois Campus Compact student advisory board for two years and was part of a student delegation to the Oxfam America Free Trade Coffee conference in New Orleans in 2003.

Howard R. Swearer was the 15th president of Brown University and founder of Campus Compact. Established in 1987, the award that bears his name honors his belief that universities should be communities of compassionate people involved in serious intellectual pursuits, yet never divorced from the realities of their communities.

The recipients of this year’s Swearer Award were Joseph Blundell, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College; Alexandria Gomes and Tiana Davis, Connecticut College; Rebecca Heller, Dartmouth College; Mehran Heravi, Florida State University; and Ross Meyer, Miami University (Ohio).

Finalists along with Moran were Avery Brook, Oberlin College; Margaret Brill MacWhirter, Georgetown University; Joshua Fisher, Bucknell University; Ashley Kalus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Manwai Candy Ku, University of Pennsylvania; Amrit Kumar Rao, Stanford University; Carlos Silva, Williams College; Vlada Smorgunov, Pace University; Iris St. Meran, Emerson University; Nelson Totah, Emory University; and Lee Tusman, Brandeis University.

    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 40 degree programs – 20 bachelor’s, 19 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.
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