Stonehill College sophomore Cristianie DePina was recently named a 2016 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact, a Boston-based non-profit that works to advance the public purpose of higher education. The award, named in honor of Campus Compact co-founder Frank Newman, honors students who are proven leaders with both the motivation and ability to make substantial contributions toward public problem solving.
DePina, a sociology major, has been involved with several projects since joining the Stonehill community last year. As a first-year student she participated in citizenship clinics for local immigrant families and worked with the group Mobilizing for Change which educates the community on conditions for local homeless families. In addition, she traveled to the Coachella Valley in Southern California to build low-income housing and to work with immigrants and migrant farmworkers there as part of the HOPE Service Immersion Program at Stonehill.
This year, DePina has served as a coordinator for the College’s ALANA -A Brothers and Sisters Leadership and RISE (Radiant, Inspirational, Sisters Empowered) Programs. The ALANA-A Brothers and Sisters (ABS) Program connects current students who serve as "big brothers and sisters" to students who have an interest in diversity and activism.
RISE is a peer-led discussion group for women who self-identify as coming from African, Latino, Asian, Native American, multiracial backgrounds. Students discuss issues of gender, experiences at Stonehill, relationships, sisterhood, solidarity, and activism in their bi-weekly meetings.
DePina also recently presented at the College’s 2nd annual Lead4Justice Conference where she discussed the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
“For me, service work is crucial because I believe in supporting those in our community who have the least resources and political voice,” says DePina. “Stonehill has given me opportunities to take leadership roles that not only enhance the impact I have on issues such as homelessness and anti-racism, but also allow me to share my passion and skills with other budding activists.”
“Cristianie is well respected by faculty, staff and students and has a drive and passion for activism as well as the sense of humor and temperament to be effective in her leadership,” says Stonehill President Rev. John Denning, C.S.C.
“I never thought that I would have the confidence to be a leader but now I realize a responsibility for offering guidance and inspiration for younger people and helping them develop the qualities necessary to change the world,” notes DePina.
As a Newman Civic Fellow DePina will represent Stonehill in a national group of student leaders who will be invited to join an online network and participate in state-specific activities. A total of 218 students were named Civic Fellows this year, only seven of which represent four-year institutions in Massachusetts.