(’15) (Batavia, Ill.), a public relations major at Loras College, recently received The Newman Civic Fellows Award for his leadership, service, and desire to find solutions to social issues. Colleges and universities that are members of Campus Compact around the country nominated outstanding students.
Newman Civic Fellows Awards are intended to honor the leadership legacy of Frank Newman by prioritizing recognition for student leaders who:
Go beyond direct service to seek long-term solutions for social issues.
Inspire and engage others.
Demonstrate the motivation and potential for effective and long-term civic engagement.
“The Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellows are a cohort of inspiring college student leaders from across the country who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing their communities. Loras College is proud to have Ben Minnis join this incredibly talented group of our nation’s future leaders. Ben has diligently served as a self-advocate and an advocate for others in his efforts to break down a culture he believes stigmatizes teens willing to speak out about living with mental illness and by doing this, he has inspired other students to become effective self-advocates for their own mental and physical health,” Maggie Baker
, service learning coordinator at Loras College, explained.
Minnis founded a new student organization at Loras College called Breaking the Silence
, which seeks to encourage his peers to become self-advocates for their own mental and physical health by changing their habits to include getting adequate amounts of sleep, exercising regularly, eating healthy meals, getting enough sunlight exposure, building their own social support networks, and talking to a counselor when needed.
He utilized his strengths, knowledge and personal insight on this social issue to organize an annual fundraiser, Party in the Park,
which is focused on raising awareness about mental health in his hometown of Batavia, Illinois. Through internship experiences at Loras with organizations in Dubuque, Iowa, such as Suicide Prevention Services, the Multicultural Family Center Teen Program and Hills & Dales, he gained additional abilities to bring the message of hope and health through self-advocacy to his peers at Loras College who may also be struggling with their own mental health challenges.
“I am thrilled to be recognized for something I’m passionate about. I hope that being part of this national platform brings greater awareness to the importance of mental and physical health,” Minnis explained.
Minnis joins four other students in Iowa who received the award. The Newman Civic Fellows Award was created in memory of Frank Newman, who devoted his life to creating complete change through education reform and a selfless, positive, and determined leadership. The award is sponsored by KPMG, one of the largest professional services companies in assurance, tax and financial advisory, and consulting.