Western Carolina University junior Michelle Powers is one of 21 students chosen to receive North Carolina Campus Compact’s Community Impact Award.

Campus Compact, a statewide network of colleges and universities, recognizes students for their outstanding leadership and service. One student leader is chosen from each member school.

“I was shocked,” Powers said. “I had no clue. It means so much.”

Powers, a criminal justice and sociology major from Raleigh, has been involved in four alternative break service trips, including two as a student trip leader. During fall break, Powers organized an alternative break trip to Savannah, Georgia, where she and 10 WCU students conducted community service projects at a different place every day. While employed at WCU’s Center for Service Learning for three years, Powers has been an advocate for service and student activism, helping to train new alternative break leaders.

As a freshman, Powers was a member of WCU’s inaugural Ripple Effect class and learning community, programs that foster servant leadership, social entrepreneurship and community engagement. She has been a peer mentor to more than 40 participating students.

“Michelle starts with ‘yes,’ and then finds a way to connect the dots,” said Lane Perry, director of the Center for Service Learning.

Powers was honored at Campus Compact’s annual Citizenships, Service, Networking, and Partnerships student conference held Nov. 7 at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.