Emerald Hagerty, a nursing student at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast, has been named a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact. The award “honors inspiring college student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country,” according to the Campus Compact website. It looks for students who use their college experiences to better understand both the causes of social issues and effective ways to create change.
Ivy Tech Northeast Chancellor Jerrilee K. Mosier and Student Life Director Christina O’Brien nominated Hagerty in part because of her work in getting a student-run food pantry started on campus.
“This fellowship isn’t about volunteerism only but about finding longer-term solutions and improving communities,” O’Brien says. “With her work on the food pantry, that bigger effort to address a community need, giving something for others to grow upon is so important.”
Hagerty has been an active member of the College’s Student Government Association and Campus Activities Board for two years. Last summer, she was selected to participate in the alternative summer break student project, which focused on hunger. During the week-long project, she worked with food banks, soup kitchens, and community gardens in and around Indianapolis. Her experience in the project is what led Hagerty to work with O’Brien to start the College’s food pantry through student government.
“I will be honest: I am very much a white, middle-class female who has never faced hunger,” she says. “But the whole experience moved me. We are currently focused on fundraising so this pantry will be around long after we have all graduated. We hope to do more than just the pantry. I would love for the full kitchen be used at the (Public Safety Academy: Ivy Tech) South Campus and community meals offered a few times a week.”
Hagerty has attended Ivy Tech Northeast since fall 2013, originally studying Health Information Technology. She plans to graduate in spring 2017 and hopes to one day become a family nurse practitioner. She is from Fort Wayne and has a husband and two children, and she says she was surprised to learn she was nominated for the award.
“I feel like I’m a normal mom and student who saw a need and worked with other student leaders and administration to make it happen,” Hagerty says. “My hope is this food pantry will allow at least one student who might have struggled at Ivy Tech to stay and graduate, without worrying about something as simple as food.”
Campus Compact is a Boston-based national organization that works to deepen public colleges’ and universities’’ abilities to improve community life and education students about social and civic responsibility.