East Carolina University senior Brettelyn Knell has been recognized for outstanding leadership and service by North Carolina Campus Compact, a statewide network of colleges and universities with a shared commitment to community engagement.
Knell is a recipient of the network’s Community Impact Award, honoring one student leader at each member school. Twenty-one total students were chosen by their campuses for the honor this year, joining more than 200 college students recognized by the network since the award was first presented in 2006.
At ECU, Knell has been involved with the Adopt-A-Grandparent program for four years and currently serves as the program coordinator. She has partnered with other organizations to bring programming for Veterans Day, National Nursing Home Week, Thanksgiving and Christmas to residents at the Golden Living Center. Her commitment led to the Golden Living Center and the Adopt-A-Grandparent program receiving the 2015 ECU Leadership Awards for Outstanding Service Program of the Year and Community Partnership of the Year.
“Brett’s impact is best captured in the countless stories of the new and long-lasting intergenerational friendships she’s helped foster between ECU students and Golden Living Center residents and families,” said Nichelle Shuck, associate director at ECU’s Volunteer and Service-Learning Center.
A native of Perryville, Maryland, Knell is majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders in the College of Allied Health Sciences.
"Sometimes the best gift you can give is your time," Knell said, “ and in my three years with the Adopt-a-Grandparent program, I have witnessed several residents have their lives turned around in a positive direction because of the students that volunteer through our program.
"Service does not feel like service when you enjoy it. To be acknowledged for doing what I am passionate about is an honor."
Knell and other Community Impact Award winners were honored at the Compact’s annual CSNAP student conference, held in November at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. The event drew nearly 100 students and staff from more than 20 campuses. In addition to award presentations, the conference included training on cultural competency, community engagement and the “sustained dialogue” leadership process.
North Carolina Campus Compact, the state affiliate of the national Campus Compact organization, builds the capacity of colleges and universities to produce civically-engaged graduates and strengthen communities. Started in 2002 and hosted by Elon University, the statewide network includes 36 public, private, and community colleges and universities.