The University of Wisconsin–Madison is proud to announce Brelynn Bille as its 2023 Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellow.
Newman Civic Fellows are nominated by university presidents or chancellors for their public leadership and commitment to create positive change in communities locally and around the world. Bille joins 153 other students from 38 states, Washington, D.C., and Mexico to form the 2023-24 cohort.
Through the fellowship, Campus Compact will provide these students with a year of learning and networking opportunities that emphasize personal, professional, and civic growth. Each year, fellows participate in numerous virtual training and networking opportunities to help provide them with the skills and connections they need to create large-scale positive change. The cornerstone of the fellowship is the Annual Convening of Fellows, which offers intensive in-person skill-building and networking over the course of two days. The fellowship also provides fellows with pathways to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.
A third-year student double-majoring in community and nonprofit leadership and political science, Bille combines her passion for public policy and advocacy for disability rights to address the university’s inequities and barriers to create community spaces for disabled students.
As a disabled, first-generation college student, Bille seeks to create a more equitable and informed campus for disabled students to prevent others from dropping out or transferring due to the lack of accessibility.
Bille is part of a coalition with other disabled students that helped build a Disability Cultural Center on campus. Through her work as a member of the coalition, she has been able to use her advocacy work as a vehicle to carry out initiatives to provide visibility and space.
Inside the classroom, Bille has served as an ambassador for the university’s Philanthropy Lab, where she competed to bring home $50,000 for an area nonprofit to build a home in the Philippines for child survivors of sexual abuse and exploitation.
In her personal statement on being nominated for the fellowship, she adds that their efforts on campus have fostered a strong student-led campaign to transform campus into a better place for disabled students.
The fellowship is named for the late Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders, who was a tireless 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.
You can read more about each of the student leaders selected for this year’s cohort.