Students Receive CCCE Fellowship to Study Leadership, Social Change

Eleventh grader Aleisha Campbell is already active in pursuing social justice and committed to making an impact in her community. Ninth grader Hannah Lapides is just beginning to explore how to address societal ills and engage with issues she feels passionate about. But, as the inaugural recipients of a fellowship from Rivers’s Center for Community and Civic Engagement (CCCE), both are looking to immerse themselves in the subject when they attend an intensive summer program for high school students, called “Leadership for Social Change,” at Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life.
The two-week residential program takes place in July on the Tufts University campus, and it will offer training in leadership skills, public policy debate, and direct service. There will be academic study, field work, skill building, and an opportunity for a deep dive into a specific area of civic engagement, such as public health or environmental sustainability.

“I’m excited to learn more about the process—how things work politically,” says Campbell. She’s hoping to broaden and deepen her level of engagement in social change. “This program will help me get a better view of public policy and see if this is what I want to do.”

For her part, Lapides says, “I haven’t really done anything like this. I’m interested in social change, but I’ve never gone into the community and learned how to solve issues.” And just living on a college campus for two weeks will be a novel experience, she says.

When the CCCE was launched, last fall, its brief was simple but broad and far reaching. Says CCCE director Amy Enright, “The center exists as a result of a new vision of how the school interacts with the outside world.” Sending students to the leadership conference is the kind of initiative that supports that vision.

“To be able to offer this in our inaugural year means so much,” says Enright. “It was great we were able to send two students, both of whom showed potential in leadership.” Enright notes that, as Vince Lombardi once said, leaders aren’t born, they’re made. “That is our philosophy at Rivers, too. Leadership skills can be learned,” she says, and the Tufts program is designed to do just that.

And the benefits, she adds, should resonate across the school community. Says Enright, “I feel so strongly that it is valuable both to the students who experience it and to the Rivers community, when they return to school in the fall.”