October 15, 2020
Nicholas Piner, a senior majoring in human biology, physiology, and neuroscience, has been named a Campus Compact 2020 Newman Civic Fellow. The prestigious program selects students who are campus leaders demonstrating a commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities at home or anywhere in the world.
“Nick Piner’s commitment to service is impressive,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “Since 2018 he has served in the MSU Tower Guard, where members are appointed as the top five percent of the freshman class. He has gone on to perform a wide range of volunteer and leadership roles, and this past Winter semester was honored with the Spartan Volunteer Service Award, earning the highest recognition with more than 600 hours of documented service.”
Piner has assisted other MSU students receiving services from the MSU Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities, served as a hospice volunteer coordinator at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, led intensive training sessions for first-time Hospice House volunteers, and served as a student leader with MSU Alternative Spartan Breaks.
“I first became exposed to societal hardship while volunteering for an Austrian Red Cross food shelter as a U.S. student ambassador when I was in high school. That experience had a significant impact on me and my desire to help people, and I soon realized that poverty is just one of a number of areas in need of help” Piner said.
The Newman Civic Fellowship is a yearlong program for students from Campus Compact member institutions. It is named for the late Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders, who was a tireless advocate for civic engagement in higher education. Presidents and chancellors from each member institution may nominate one student for the fellowship.
The 2020 cohort—the largest group of Newman Civic Fellows to date—comprises 290 students from 39 states, Washington, D.C., Greece, Lebanon, and Mexico. The program provides students with a variety of learning and networking opportunities that emphasize personal, professional, and civic growth.
“Michigan State University has consistently recognized outstanding students for this fellowship. Nick Piner has exceled as the president of Alternative Spartan Breaks and has been a leader among fellow students who choose to volunteer during their spring break,” said Renee C. Brown, director of the Center for Community-Engaged Learning. “We know that Nick will represent MSU’s commitment to civic engagement with energy, enthusiasm, and unflagging dedication.”
Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 1,000 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. The Newman Civic Fellowship was established to recognize and support community-committed students who create change and are public problem-solvers.
“We are proud to recognize each of these extraordinary student leaders and thrilled to have the opportunity to engage with them,” said Campus Compact President Andrew Seligsohn. “The stories of this year’s Newman Civic Fellows make clear that they are committed to finding solutions to pressing problems in their communities and beyond. That is what Campus Compact is about, and it’s what our country and our world desperately need.”
The Newman Civic Fellowship is supported by the KPMG Foundation.
Nicholas Piner is the son of David and Elizabeth Piner of Haslett, Michigan.