Student receives Community Impact Award
10/31/2007 -

Photo of Kathleen CumminsKathleen Cummins, a Western Carolina University senior, is a recipient of the North Carolina Campus Compact 2007 Community Impact Student Award.

The award recognizes outstanding leadership and innovation in volunteerism and service-learning activities both on campus and in the community. Cummins (pictured at right), a nursing major at WCU, is one of 21 students selected for the award.

Cummins will receive the award on Saturday, Nov. 10, at East Carolina University. She will compete with other winners across the state to be nominated for an award through National Campus Compact.

“Kathleen Cummins has exemplified outstanding leadership and has demonstrated a creative approach in her community service and service-learning endeavors both on the WCU campus and in the wider community,” said Glenn Bowen, WCU director of service learning. “She has been instrumental in promoting and garnering student support for student leadership, community engagement and advocacy."

A resident of Clemmons, Cummins is the daughter of Bob and Carol Cummins. She graduated from R.J. Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem in 2004.

“Everything about volunteering in rewarding,” said Cummins, who began volunteering at age 10 when her choir group sang at a nursing home. “The payment I receive in return for volunteering is better than any material compensation. Connecting with strangers and being able to help someone with a conflict bigger than himself or herself is more worthwhile than words can describe. It is extremely gratifying to help someone, to see his or her burden lift a little, by helping to make life more livable.”

Cummins’ leadership abilities are evidenced by the enormous success of the 2007 WCU Relay For Life, her induction into the Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society, and her induction into National Residence Hall Honorary, an organization whose members are the top 1 percent of all students in college and university residence halls across the United States, Bowen said.

Serving as chair of Relay For Life at WCU in 2006-07, Cummins played a pivotal role in ensuring the success of the event, which was organized to raise awareness and funds in support of people with cancer, said Bowen. The event raised more than $21,000 for the American Cancer Society, and it was primarily because of Cummins’ leadership that the event met its monetary goal for the first time in its five-year history, he said.

Cummins is a “strong leader, who is very dedicated and enthusiastic,” said Katie Graunke, a WCU senior who was the Relay For Life team captain and inaugural winner of the Community Impact Student Award last year.

Cummins accepted the public relations role for WCU’s “Up ‘Til Dawn” program, and her primary responsibility is to generate and sustain campus interest in childhood cancer and fundraising for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In addition, she volunteers at Harris Regional Hospital; Community Table, Jackson County’s soup kitchen; REACH Thrift Store, Jackson County’s nonprofit agency that promotes economic self-sufficiency and zero tolerance for domestic violence; Mountain Trace Nursing Center; and Angel Wings, a Jackson County Christmas project that provides opportunities for parents to purchase gifts at 10 percent of the sales price.

N.C. Campus Compact is a coalition of 26 college and university presidents and chancellors, established to encourage and support campus engagement in the community. WCU became a member campus in 2005.

“Kathleen’s ‘passion for people,’ social perceptiveness and generosity of spirit, combined with her critical-thinking skills and high academic achievements, make her a fine student and an exemplary young leader,” said Bowen.

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Last modified: Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2007


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