Raritan Valley Community College student Faranak Aminifar has been selected to receive the Campus Compact 2016 Newman Civic Fellows Award. The Belle Mead resident joins the Newman Civic Fellows Class of 2016, a national group of 218 Fellows who are being honored for their efforts to take action in pursuit of long-term positive social change. Aminifar, a Criminal Justice major, is graduating from RVCC in May. “We are fortunate to have the opportunity to celebrate such an extraordinary group of students,” said Campus Compact President Andrew Seligshon. “We are seeing a resurgence in student interest in acting to create lasting social change, and this year’s Newman Civic Fellows exemplify that commitment.”
Based in Boston, Campus Compact is a national, non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education. The award honors the late Dr. Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders and a tireless advocate for the civic engagement of higher education. In the spirit of Dr. Newman’s leadership, Campus Compact member presidents and chancellors were encouraged to nominate undergraduate or graduate students who are proven leaders with both the motivation and ability to make substantial contributions toward public problem solving for this special recognition. “Faranak is a true campus leader who has made service an integral part of her college experience,” said RVCC President Dr. Michael J. McDonough. “Providing over 200 hours of service learning activities to the community through her criminal justice courses, Faranak assisted probation officers with field visits and interviews advocating on behalf of defendants who could not provide their own defense. She also helped at-risk children stay engaged in positive activities through tutoring and mentoring.” Aminifar created the first Criminal Justice Club at RVCC and serves as the President. She is Vice President of the Rotaract Club and a member of the Muslin Student Association and Feminist Coalition, which she also created. Aminifar has participated in many student leadership training programs on campus and at the United Nations. “All of these experiences have given Aminifar the opportunity to examine how we can work together individually and collaboratively to advance our understanding of, and commitment to, solving pressing global, regional and local issues that we face in today’s world,” Dr. McDonough continued. Campus Compact 2016 Newman Civic Fellows will represent their higher education institutions in a national group of student leaders. These students will receive an award certificate and an invitation to join the Newman Civic Fellows online network. They also will be featured prominently on the Campus Compact national website (www.compact.org) and, in many cases, invited to participate in state-specific activities. “I am extremely passionate about confronting challenging legal and social justice issues for underserved people,” said Aminifar. “By volunteering with agencies that provide legal services to immigrants and minorities, I have been given the opportunity to advocate on behalf of disadvantaged populations and have gained a valuable cross-cultural perspective. Through mentoring and companionship, I have provided atrisk children with a caring and supportive relationship, helping them focus on productive, healthy behavior.” Raritan Valley Community College’s main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. Serving Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for close to 50 years, RVCC is an educational and cultural center that is nationally recognized for its innovative programming, service to the community and environmental leadership. The College offers more than 90 associate degrees and certificates, as well as career training, professional development and personal enrichment courses. The College also has a performing arts center and planetarium.