Minnesota Campus Compact’s 2016 Presidents’ Awards Nominees

Metropolitan State University has submitted three nominations for the Minnesota Campus Compact Presidents’ Awards. The awards recognize effective leadership in the development of campus-community partnerships and acknowledge outstanding collaborative work.

The award recipients will be recognized at Minnesota Campus Compact’s annual summit on April 7 at Macalester College. Campus Compact has supported civic engagement through a diverse network of colleges and universities since 1994.

The Student Senate was nominated for the Student Leadership Award for work in negotiating a mutually beneficial outcome for neighborhood residents, lawmakers and public officials during the recent campus expansion, including the Student Center, a Science Education Center and parking facility.

The nominating document, submitted by the Institute for Community Engagement praised the Student Senate for its leadership during “a critical juncture, when the future of the Student Center and parking facility were in question, the engagement of the Student Senators, on behalf of the university students they represent, proved essential in achieving consensus between campus and community representatives on a plan to re-site the building projects and move forward with ground-breaking and construction.”

Their actions exemplified leadership, political acumen and a deep commitment to community building.

Professor Nadarajan Sethuraju, School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, was nominated for the Civic Engagement Steward Award.

The nominating form praised Sethuraju for his attitude and method: “… the marriage of academia and practice is always based on the idea and the practice that every voice matters in justice systems and processes.”

These were exemplified by his consistently modeling deeply reciprocal community engagement and convening local leaders for critical dialogue on issues in law enforcement and criminal justice studies. By integrating these explorations into his courses, he cultivates student leadership, professionalism and advancement.

Sethuraju is an active partner for Metropolitan State University among numerous organizations, including the NAACP-St. Paul chapter, as a volunteer in a range of restorative justice programs, and service with the Board of Directors of AccessAbility, Inc. He enjoys active working relationships with the MN Department of Corrections and the MN Corrections Association, Dakota County Jail, Lino Lakes prison, Hennepin County and Carver County Probation offices, and countless other institutional and community-based justice organizations.

In Progress, a Saint Paul-based media arts organization that supports young artists in their journey of telling their stories using digital media, was nominated for the Community Partner Award.

In Progress provides professional mentorships, leadership training and internships. In Progress and Metropolitan State share common goals of lifelong learning, community engagement and supporting under-represented audiences in their educational and career journeys. In Progress and its Executive Director Kris Sorenson have previously collaborated with the university’s Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship and Gordon Parks Gallery director, Erica Rasmussen.

Metropolitan State University and In Progress have a shared goal to provide venues for individuals and groups to tell their own stories, with their own voice, to accurately interpret historical events. These collaborative efforts reach youth and adult audiences in excess of 2,000 participants annually.