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UMFK Student Named 2017 Newman Civic Fellow

April 6, 2017

Duane Belanger
Newman Civic Fellow Duane Belanger brings a smile to a young patient in Brazil by teaching him to thumb-wrestle.

The University of Maine at Fort Kent is pleased to announce that nursing student, Duane Belanger, has been named a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact, a national non-profit organization focused on encouraging and promoting civic engagement in higher education. Belanger was one of only four Maine college students to receive the award this year.

The Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes and supports community-committed students who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country.

“Duane Belanger has embraced his role as a non-traditional student, maximizing all he can from his academics as well as contributing in extraordinary ways to the leadership opportunities on campus,” said UMFK President, Dr. John Short. “He excels in both capacities. With a long history of service in the public interest, including the U.S. military and as elected state representative, Duane readily agreed to serve as president of the student-led organization, Partners for International Relief (PIR). The purpose of this newly-formed organization is to facilitate student participation in humanitarian mission trips, both nationally and internationally. In fall 2016, Duane, still a freshmen student, traveled to Brazil on just such a mission. Upon his return and using his organizational and business skills, he endeavored arranging a similar campus-sponsored trip involving area physicians, dentists, nurses, and students.”

In order to be selected, a student must be engaged in creating social change, address issues of inequality, and demonstrate the potential for effective long-term civic engagement. The Newman Civic Fellowship is intended to honor the leadership legacy of Frank Newman by recognizing community-committed students.

“My core belief is that every human being is entitled to equal access to healthcare, in line with the patient's needs, respectful of a patient's right to choose, delivered in a culturally congruent and compassionate manner,” said Belanger. “I have developed and nurtured partnerships with community organizations, businesses, facilities, and community leaders in support of an annual medical relief mission allowing UMFK students an opportunity to bring medical services to the most disparaged areas of the world and experience firsthand the joy of truly making a difference in the lives of others. I am a United States Army veteran and serve in many capacities at the local, state and national level of the American Legion.”

As a 2017 Newman Civic Fellow, Belanger will be a part of the first cohort to benefit from a completely re-designed fellowship. The Newman Civic Fellowship, named for Campus Compact co-founder Frank Newman, is a one-year experience emphasizing personal, professional, and civic growth. Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides a variety of learning and networking opportunities, including a national conference of Newman Civic Fellows in partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The fellowship also provides fellows with access to exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.

“The cultivation of community-committed leaders has never been more crucial,” said Campus Compact president Andrew Seligsohn. “We rebuilt the Newman Civic Fellowship experience because our country needs more people who know how to bring communities together for positive change. We are thrilled to welcome this group of 273 exemplary students as the first cohort to participate in this new model.”

The Newman Civic Fellowship is supported by the KPMG Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation.