Shippensburg University senior Lavell Simpkins recently was named a 2015 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact, a national organization of university presidents.
Simpkins, of Philadelphia, is a sociology major and political science minor. During his time at Shippensburg, he has achieved numerous leadership positions, including serving as a member of the Student Senate and president of the Black Student Union. He founded and organized the Ship Votes campaign, which has registered more than 3,000 community members and students to vote.
Simpkins has worked in the Multicultural Student Affairs office and as a diversity teaching assistant, student orientation leader and resident assistant. He also helped create student-led workshops to teach valuable life skills to more than 200 high school students.
“Lavell has been instrumental in creating awareness for historically underrepresented students on campus,” said SU President George F. “Jody” Harpster Jr., who nominated Simpkins for the award. “He has made a tremendous impact on students through his orientation leader and resident assistant positions, focusing on successfully transitioning first-year students into the Shippensburg community.
“Lavell has accomplished all of this while continuing to make his academics a priority and inspiring and engaging others all over the Shippensburg University campus.”
“Helping others is something that I do out of concern for humanity, not praise. I have an obligation to help others; without the help of my mentors, I would not be here today,” Simpkins said.
“Education is a lifeline, and it is what changed my life. Throughout my last four years, I have been developing and trying to understand my purpose, values and moral compass,” he continued. “I want to continue to grow, mentor and give back everything that has been given to me. I owe my life to service, even if it is helping someone hope through a conversation.”
Simpkins is one of 201 Newman Civic Fellows for 2015.
The award is presented annually by Campus Compact, a national coalition of nearly 1,100 college and university presidents that supports a role for higher education in improving community life and educating students on civic and social responsibility. It is named for the late Dr. Frank Newman, who co-founded Campus Compact in 1985 while president of the Education Commission of the States.