Students and Faculty Honored for Civic Engagement

April 8, 2016

Members of the Acacia fraternity accept the Most Engaged Greek Organization award.

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Student groups, athletic teams and individuals were honored along with faculty, staff and community partners at the recent Civic Engagement Banquet.

Sponsored by Illinois Wesleyan University’s Student Senate in collaboration with the Action Research Center, the annual event celebrates those who have made significant contributions to community service.

According to the Independent Sector, a national leadership network for nonprofits, foundations and corporations, the value for an hour of volunteer service in Illinois during 2014 was calculated at $24.74. In total, the time that the Illinois Wesleyan community contributed to volunteer and civic service totals $824,040. Action Research Center (ARC) officials said IWU set a goal of 45,000 volunteer hours for this year. Faculty, staff and students can still report hours at

At the banquet, eight awards were presented to outstanding leaders in community service:

The Acacia fraternity won Most Engaged Greek Organization. Philanthropy Chair Brian Yager ’17 worked through the Action Research Center to reach five nonprofits in the community, where fraternity members participated in seven consecutive days of community service and philanthropy. Members performed tasks ranging from cutting wood to construct a book bin to cleaning out pet rooms at the Humane Society of Central Illinois. Yager hopes to make the Seven Days of Service a chapter tradition.

Jerome Maddoz and Deborah
Jerome Maddox represented State Farm, winner of the Community Partner Award. ARC Director Deborah Halperin is pictured at right.

The Illinois Wesleyan women’s volleyball team won the Athletic Team Award. ARC Director Deborah Halperin said coaches and players challenged themselves that each member of the team would perform 24 hours of service. “These women are not just great examples of the student-athlete, but also of the student-athlete-volunteer,” said Halperin.

State Farm was recognized with the Community Partner Award, a recognition to honor all the work the company does to support nonprofits in the area, said Halperin.

Other award winners include:

  • Professor of Political Science Jim Simeone, for his work as co-founder of ARC and his leadership in the Weir Fellowship program, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Teach-In, the IWU Peace Garden, supervising IWU’s City of Bloomington internship program allowing students to get involved in local government, and his active role in the development of the Legacy of the Land Community Supported Agriculture program.

  • Julia Savich ’16 of Palatine, Ill. was honored with the Alternative Break Leadership Award. A physics major, Savich has attended Alternative Spring Break every year she has been an IWU student.

  • IWU Dance Marathon received the Most Engaged Registered Student Organization. This year IWU Dance Marathon raised more than $7,700 for the Children’s Hospital of Illinois.

  • Ngan Pham ’19, a biology and chemistry double major from Chicago, received the Most Engaged First-Year student award.

Julie Lewis ’16, a sociology and Hispanic Studies double major from Glenview, Ill. received the Most Engaged Senior Award. Lewis has received the Weir Fellowship and an ARC Alumni Fellowship. She is also director of the Mini Masters program where Illinois Wesleyan students provide free music lessons to local youth. She recently won the Zoellick Fellowship in Social Entrepreneurship to implement her idea for a project to build 25 benches at bus stops on Bloomington’s west side.