Photo of Spencer sitting on a bench on campus

Ohio Northern University pharmacy and honors student Spencer Short has been named a . He is one of an elite group of student civic leaders from across the nation to receive this honor.

Campus Compact is a national coalition of colleges and universities working to advance the public purposes of higher education. The Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes students who stand out for their commitment to creating positive change in communities locally and around the world.

As a Fellow, Short will have access to a variety of virtual and in-person learning opportunities and can attend the annual Convening of Newman Civic Fellows nationwide conference this fall.

Short, who will be a sixth-year student in 鶹APP’s PharmD program in the fall, was recognized for his extensive campus service efforts in addressing food insecurity and rural health disparities.

He’s earned the praise of many, including 鶹APP President Melissa Baumann, Ph.D.

“Spencer is a proven leader on campus,” President Baumann said. “Among other achievements, as a religious life assistant, he revived Polar Buddies, which allows 鶹APP students to mentor local students.”

He also coordinated a team of volunteers to provide weekly lunches and other assistance for students experiencing food insecurity and poverty, initiatives known as the Polar Bear Food Cupboard and the Northern Clothing Donations Box.

Short, a long-time member of the Student Senate, serves as the secretary of service and philanthropy. He is a member and past president of the Polar Health Club, a drug information intern for the university’s Healthwise Pharmacy, and a teaching assistant for a Foundational Pharmacy course.

“Spencer successfully advocated for the continuation of the public health program at 鶹APP and is committed to community-based service to remedy gaps in food and health equity in underserved populations,” President Baumann said. “As a member of 鶹APP’s Rural and Underserved Health Scholars Program, he works to increase awareness of food insecurity services available to residents in rural Ohio.”

With these efforts, Short “prioritizes interpersonal trust and community autonomy, ensuring that those most affected by inequities help shape the solutions,” Dr. Baumann shared.

In a personal statement submitted to Campus Compact, Short makes a case for civic engagement, which he says is imperative to addressing societal challenges effectively.

“What comes to mind when thinking about civic engagement is building relationships with the people who are affected by the disparities and inequities at hand,” Short wrote. “Developing trusting relationships with stakeholders involves working together to find solutions and ensuring the representation of all who are affected at the table.”

Short and his classmates used this approach while working on the Rural and Underserved Health Scholars Program to increase awareness of food insecurity services available to residents in Alger, Ohio, he noted.

“We gathered viewpoints and concerns from faculty, staff, and students, used that information to craft an appeal to the university administration, and participated in conversations that ultimately led to the program’s continuation.”

The fellowship is named for the late Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders, who was a strong advocate for civic engagement in higher education. In the spirit of Dr. Newman’s leadership, Fellows are nominated by Campus Compact member presidents and chancellors, who are invited to select one outstanding student from their campus each year.