A UNO student has been recognized as a national leader in community engagement and civic leadership as one of the 173 students selected as Newman Civic Fellows for the 2022-2023 academic year.
Sophomore Massimiliano Saitta, who is majoring in interdisciplinary studies and social work while minoring in human rights studies and Spanish, joins civic leaders from 38 states, Washington D.C., and Mexico to form the 2022 cohort. He was selected from hundreds of nominees by Campus Compact, a Boston-based non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education,
The Newman Civic Fellowship is a year-long program for students from Campus Compact member institutions. The students selected for the fellowship are leaders on their campuses who demonstrate a commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities locally, nationally, and internationally.
“[Massi] ... is an outstanding campus and community leader who is fully committed to addressing barriers faced by marginalized communities,” UNO Chancellor Joanne Li, Ph.D., CFA, said. “Massi is distinctly remarkable for his personal dedication to building his own leadership so he can impact policy and support community change.”
Saitta's work at UNO extends to serving as the Program Manager for the Maverick Food Pantry, which supports the dietary and personal hygiene needs of UNO students, faculty, staff, and others. His roles in the community include being a mentor for other first-generation students and being an intern for a local organization supporting youth literacy.
“[In my roles] I’ve gained insight into how I want to continue addressing social issues through my life experiences, higher education, and employment as well as my determination and ambition to be a modern face in change for the future wellbeing of others,” Saitta said.
Growing up, as Saitta witnessed the impact of homelessness and police neglect on his neighborhood in South Omaha, he became more passionate about serving oppressed communities.
“Pursuing a degree will strengthen my ability to grow as an individual and leader by teaching others, providing resources, advocating for the oppressed, and serving and supporting historically disadvantaged communities,” Saitta said. “I hope to make changes in policy that directly impact marginalized communities.”
The fellowship, named after Frank Newman, offers many training and networking opportunities throughout the year-long program, the cornerstone of which is the Annual Convening of Fellows, a two-day workshop where students undergo intensive networking and skill development.
“We are proud to name such an outstanding and diverse group of students Newman Civic Fellows,” said Campus Compact President Bobbie Laur. “Their passion and resolve to take action on the wide range of issues challenging our neighborhoods and communities is inspiring and deeply needed. We cannot wait to engage with them through this transformative experience.”
Previous UNO students who have received the Newman Civic Fellowship include:
Learn more at compact.org/newman-civic-fellowship.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.