St. Paul, Minn.Aramis Mendez ’17, from Kansas City, Mo., has received the Newman Civic Fellow Award from Campus Compact. He was one of 201 community-engaged students hailing from 36 states and the District of Columbia this year who were honored as Newman Civic Fellows. Mendez is a Geography major with a concentration in Urban Studies.

“Receiving the Newman Civic Fellows Award is a reflection of Macalester’s dedication to global citizenship and public leadership,” said Mendez. “It feels great to know that the leadership skills I developed on campus make me a more well-rounded citizen outside of it.”

Throughout his college career, Mendez has worked tirelessly to protect and advance human rights; the notion that all lives matter. This is evident in his work at The Advocates for Human Rights, a non-profit organization that works to implement international human rights standards to promote civil society and reinforce the rule of law. Their statement of purpose, “Because Every Person Matters,” is one that he lives by.

Using this mission as a grounding base, Mendez has focused on immigration issues of non-citizens and refugees that come to the United States to escape harm’s way. He works as an interpreter, conducts intake interviews, visits immigration court, and completes country-condition research to garner evidence for the client’s case.

“The Newman Civic Fellows Award is important to me because it simultaneously recognizes the work I do and tells the stories of the people I work with,” said Mendez. “By amplifying my efforts, the award further recognizes the root causes of social inequalities as a way of increasing knowledge about the subject matter.” 

The Newman Civic Fellows Award recognizes inspiring college student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country.  Through service, research, and advocacy, these Fellows are making the most of their college experiences to better understand themselves, the root causes of social issues, and effective mechanisms for creating lasting change.

Presidents from Campus Compact member colleges and universities across the country nominated promising student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in their community to be Newman Civic Fellows.  The award is named for Dr. Frank Newman, President of the University of Rhode Island from 1974-1983, and one of the founders of Campus Compact.

When he graduates, Mendez would like to go to law school.

“I enjoy interpretation of the law and the diversity of the field,” he said. “Having immersed myself in the field of law as a college student, I have realized the importance of combating social inequalities through legal action. By helping vulnerable populations, I will create a more just society that is representative of the people.” 

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 2,045 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism and civic engagement. Learn more at

April 20 2015

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