Winona State holds Civic Engagement Awards ceremony

Olivia Prondzinski, news reporter

On Tuesday, March 22 from 3:30-5 p.m., Winona State University President Scott Olson held a ceremony for the President’s Civic Engagement Awards and the National Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellowship. Olson will award nine recipients for the civic engagement work they have done on campus. 

One of the awards presented, the Student Leadership Award, is given to students who model initiative, passion, collaboration and integration of civic engagement into the college experience. Three students will be awarded the Student Leadership Award this school year: Jessica Anderson, a fourth-year cellular and molecular biology pre-med student; Sydney Lawson, a fourth-year nursing student; and Kendra Nusbaum, a fourth-year nursing and Spanish student. 

Counselor Education professor Dawnette Cigrand was awarded the Joan Francioni Steward Award, an award presented to engaged faculty, staff or administrators who have advanced partnerships, support others’ civic engagement and work to institutionalize a culture of engagement.

Nusbaum is involved in the organization Circle K and is a campus coordinator for Vida Volunteer.

“For Vida Volunteer, I was a trip participant in Guatemala in August. Shortly after, I along with another student took over and continued the initiative through WSU and recruited 12 other students to join us in Costa Rica over spring break,” Nusbaum said.

Nusbaum looks for volunteer opportunities on campus as well as within the community and if there are none, she creates different service projects for students to engage in. 

 “Winning this award feels like a nice end to my time here at Winona and to know I have so many professors and faculty that have inspired me to continue my passion for nursing, Spanish and civic engagement,” Nusbaum said. 

Anderson is president of the WSU Volunteer Club and has been influential in getting other Winona State students involved with volunteering efforts.

“We get close to 100 volunteer hours a semester. We worked with places like the Winona Friendship Center and the public schools around here,” Anderson explained. 

Anderson is also currently working on setting up a connection with Project FINE, a non-profit organization that helps newcomers integrate into the Winona community. 

“It’s such an honor to win an award like this. I love volunteering and leading this club is such a fun and rewarding thing in itself, but getting an award for it is cool to see the effect it has had on other people,” Anderson said. Anderson hopes the club remains successful after she graduates.

Cigrand has been teaching at Winona State for 13 years and feels it is important to get students out of the classroom and engaged in the real world, she said.

“Our charge is not just to learn, but to have an impact in the world,” Cigrand said. 

Cigrand’s students have done research with the Winona Historical Society and career programming in schools around the local area. 

“Winning this award is really meaningful to me because this is really important work,” Cigrand said. “I don’t expect an award by any means, but the award itself showcases WSU’s commitment to doing engaged work”.

Cigrand and Nusbaum will be recognized at the state level for their engagement work at the Campus Compact Award Virtual Ceremony.