WCU student selected for community impact award

Shawna Hipps, a Western Carolina University senior, is a recipient of the North Carolina Campus Compact Community Impact Student Award for 2009.

The award is presented annually to students from member campuses of the organization who exhibit outstanding leadership and innovative approaches in community service or service-learning endeavors. Hipps, a history major at WCU, is one of 23 students selected for the award.

Hipps will receive the award Saturday, Nov. 7, at the annual N.C. Campus Compact Student Conference, which WCU will host.

“Shawna is both passionate and compassionate,” said Glenn Bowen, director of WCU’s Center for Service Learning. “Her volunteer work, focusing on cancer survivors and bringing attention to the plight of child soldiers in Uganda, reflects a deep understanding of what it means to be a caring, active citizen of the world. She is an exemplary student-leader, a dedicated volunteer and a positive role model for her peers.”

Since her first year at WCU, Hipps has participated in the Student Leadership Institute and in various student organizations and community service projects. In Alpha Phi Omega, the national co-ed service fraternity, she is currently the president, having previously served as vice president of fellowship and vice president of service. Through APO she has assisted with various service-learning initiatives, including the Invisible Children Campaign that raised campuswide awareness of the atrocities being committed against children in Uganda, where many are forced to fight as soldiers.

She also participated in the Campus Kitchen Garden Project and the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

Hipps was selected recently as WCU’s Relay For Life event chair for 2010 after serving as a volunteer since 2006 and helping to raise $25,000 for the American Cancer Society in 2009.

“As a volunteer student leader, she has not only increased giving to the American Cancer Society but has also supported the organization’s effort to increase relay participation and expand awareness of cancer’s impact on the campus and surrounding community,” said Lisa Duff, senior community manager for the American Cancer Society’s South Atlantic division. “Due to her direct involvement, several cooperative efforts have been established on campus, including those with the School of Nursing, Wellness Center and the Athletics Department.”

Hipps was a recipient of the Center for Service Learning’s Shining Star Award for 2009 and Omicron Delta Kappa’s Award for Service.

“I have discovered that regardless of what is going on in my life, there is always time to help others,” Hipps said.

The daughter of Sharon Hipps from Raleigh, Hipps graduated from Millbrook High School in 2006.

N.C. Campus Compact is a 46-member coalition of college and university presidents and chancellors established to encourage and support campus engagement in the community. WCU became a member campus in 2005.

For more information about Western Carolina’s service-learning program, visit servicelearning.wcu.edu or call (828) 227-7184.