WiCC annually gives out three awards to recognize those who have shown excellence in civic engagement. Winners of Wisconsin and national awards were honored at the annual WiCC Civic Engagement Institute, March 8-9, 2018 at UW-Whitewater.



Milwaukee Area Technical College Community Connections & Conversations

In 2014, Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) and United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County made a concerted effort to enhance their partnership that began years earlier as a workplace giving campaign. Founded on the premise of “…engaging with partners to advance the quality of life of our students and community,” MATC was determined to enhance its partnership with United Way to reach further into the community in a way that could make a real, sustained, and positive impact. Since then, the MATC and United Way partnership has flourished, with the common goal of enhancing the lives of members of the community.

Although the partnership began as a workplace giving campaign, it has matured into much more because both partners believe in the common good that can come from working together with the community. The reciprocal relationship has grown to include student work-study placements, internship opportunities, job mentoring, service-learning experiences, volunteer fairs, in-class volunteer options for students, shared Community Connection web platform for accessing community volunteer events, and, most recently, Community Conversations. Working toward the same vision–strengthening the community through sustainable, reciprocal relationships–MATC and United Way are creating positive change.

St. Norbert College Community Gardens Writing Partnership

Green Bay has been fortunate enough to host several writing partnerships between its community gardens program and St. Norbert College (SNC), a member institution of the Wisconsin Campus Compact. This partnership began when Drew Scheler’s Professional Writing class produced documents in 2016 for a local food security initiative, the Brown County UW-Extension Community Gardens Program (BCCG). As this partnership deepened in 2017, individuals across campus and community collaborated to:

  • Publish a multilingual, printed monthly newsletter for 211 community gardeners, only 55% of whom are daily internet users and only 41% off whom identify English as their first language.
  • Publish a BCCG Program Report to inform lawmakers’ budget hearings in the City of Green Bay and Brown County, which helped convinced the City to allocate $12,000 to the County to ensure BCCG’s integrity in 2018.
  • Brand and launch a community-run 501(c)(3) to support community gardening in northeast Wisconsin, the Friends of the Community Gardens (FCG).
  • Support a #GivingTuesday fundraiser to kick off FCG’s million-dollar endowment project, which raised nearly $3,500 in direct donations and over $6,000 in estimated sponsorships.
  • Provide opportunities for local Hmong, Somali, and Latinx communities to offer their voices in the process of political decision-making.
  • Provide impactful community-based research opportunities for two students in 2017.
  • Provide an opportunity for 27 professional writing students to foster structural and cultural change in collaborating with the community.
  • Engage faculty across the curriculum, most notably through a proposed 2018 economic impact study of BCCG by SNC’s Center for Business and Economic Analysis.
  • Provide a body of IRB-approved interview data sufficient to contribute meaningfully to scholarship in community engagement and writing studies.

Finally, this partnership raised the local profile of food security and campus-community collaborations. Recognizing the deep impact of this campus-community partnership, the Green Bay Press Gazette named Drew Scheler its 2017 Person of the Year.


Jose Bustos, Moraine Park Technical College

Jose Bustos is a student at Moraine Park Technical College, pursuing a dual Associate Degree in Information Technology Network and Technical Support Specialist. Jose also recently earned the Website Security certification through the U.S. DOL Interface Grant. He is also a single parent with an eleven-year-old son, and a full time third shift job.

Jose has the strongest work ethic ever! He says he learned it from his Grandma, who helped raise him in Mexico and Texas before he moved to Wisconsin. Jose is a strong role model of the Moraine Park core abilities. As the IT Club President from spring, 2016 through summer, 2017, and current Past President, he communicates clearly with faculty, students and community partners for every project. He follows up and follows through, maintaining high academic standards despite his busy family, work and volunteer schedule. He acts responsibly, and works cooperatively, taking his duties above and beyond for the success of all. He thinks critically and creatively to help make the IT Club meetings productive and engaging. Jose has been the leading force of the startup and continuing Fond du Lac Senior Center IT Club weekly Tech Tyme student volunteer project, as well as other Fair Trade College, IT and Corrections Clubs collaborative community partnership events. He demonstrates integrity and works collaboratively everywhere he goes with his honest, up front, get the job done, positive attitude.

Jose sets an outstanding example for his young son. His motto is: “Your goals are achievable through hard work and perseverance; actions have a positive effect and influence on family, friends and others in your support network especially during difficult times; sacrifices have to be made when pursuing and finishing your college degree; you can’t beat yourself down every time a sacrifice is made in pursuing your goal. You need to understand this from the start of your educational career because it ensures you get ahead and not fall behind in your studies.” Jose is a natural leader with a passion for excellence in learning and serving who truly deserves the Jack Keating Student Civic Leadership Award.

Keoni Bailey, Marquette University

As a Junior at Marquette University studying biomedical sciences and psychology, Keoni holds a 4.0, has served over 850 hours during his academic semesters, took on a service-learning semester in South Africa, and works on and off campus for a more just society, especially in the area of health. Keoni shines in many ways, but what is most unique is his ability to weave together his academic pursuits, Milwaukee’s most pressing social issues, and his personal development and self-awareness to create both individual and collective impact. As an incoming freshman at Marquette, Keoni was awarded the Marquette University Burke Scholarship. As Burke Scholar, Keoni makes a commitment to serve hundreds of hours in the Milwaukee community and deepen is knowledge and understanding of social justice issues.

Since his first semester, he has volunteered consistently at the Bread of Healing and City on a Hill’s clinics, which collaborate to meet the healthcare needs of our neighbors that cannot secure adequate health or dental insurance. To involve the larger campus in his individual impact, he organized a bone marrow registry drive and leads a group of volunteers as part of the Midnight Run program on campus to ensure individuals and families that are food insecure have the opportunity to find nourishment and companionship during meal times. Keoni has served as a dedicated volunteer at the Cathedral Center, St. Vincent DePaul, The Gathering, and has fundraised for and participated in service trips as part of the Medical Brigades and Marquette Action Program (M.A.P.). Keoni mentors and trains other students that are interested in serving and pays keen attention to the importance of reflection, knowledge and understanding of root causes and the importance of reciprocal partnerships with the community in which he serves. Keoni has shown his leadership as an engaged student beyond service by being selected as Marquette orientation leader, a tutor, and undergraduate research assistant. Keoni is a humble change maker, an innovator, and civic leader.


Molly Schwebach, UW Madison 

The values and ethics held by Ms. Molly Schwebach are a perfect embodiment of Sister Joel Read’s values. Her extensive career in boundary-spanning roles at UW Madison demonstrates tireless devotion to fostering and facilitating community involvement for faculty, staff, and students. She has played a significant role in institutionalizing high quality civic engagement through graduate and undergraduate academic programs and curriculum, and in coordinating community events, in partnership with staff colleagues.

Ms. Schwebach has developed and led several large-scale community-university initiatives at UW Madison. She created a graduate fellowships program where students were tasked with listening for articulated community needs, resulting in the creation of new community-based learning courses for undergraduate environmental studies capstone students who took on projects identified by the communities. She brought in local community leaders to speak at Community Environmental Forums and orchestrated “Tales from Planet Earth,” an entire campus-community film festival where the community engagement component included leveraging community sponsorships in a creative manner to benefit local food pantries and employment training centers.

A partnership she developed with Community Groundworks serves as an exemplar of how she brought multiple university engagement methods (service learners, volunteers, and interns) to bear within one strategic, place-based initiative resulting in a successful fundraising and publicity campaign to build an on-site “Kids’ Kitchen.”

Molly has had a significant impact on students’ growth and development. She informally mentored, counseled, encouraged and reassured participants in the Community Environmental Scholars (CES) program, designed for students who wanted to link their passion for the environment with a commitment to community. Over 200 CES alumni, who have had training in community development practices, are now doing amazing work in a variety of fields across the U.S. and beyond.

Ms. Molly Schwebach’s significant impact has been through her unique ability to narrow and blend the space between community and campus, where faculty, students, staff and community partners are teaching, learning and making a difference together with her support.

Sean Lybeck-Smoak, Cardinal Stritch University

Sean Lybeck-Smoak has been a leader and the institutional glue for experiential learning, civic engagement, and community partnerships at Cardinal Stritch University for the past 15 years.  Over the course of multiple campus organizational changes, supervisor transitions, and position titles, Sean has been steadfast in his commitment to build lasting community relationships, leverage limited resources, and engender trust and goodwill among everyone he serves.  He has enabled legions of students, faculty, and staff members to benefit from an array of high impact learning practices that ultimately have enhanced the value of a Stritch education as a whole.

Currently serving as the Stritch Director of Experiential Learning and Career Education, Sean never seeks the limelight but always demonstrates his passion, and can-do approach in enabling our faculty and students to get off campus and learn by doing.  While very knowledgeable about the theoretical underpinnings of experiential learning, Sean is known on campus first and foremost as a doer – a hands-on practitioner who particularly enjoys venturing out from behind his desk to get things done for the campus community and partner organizations that he’s so committed to helping.

In this award nomination we have focused on just some of the program development achievements that Sean has led over the years.  Implementing and guiding efforts like the Urban Fellows Program, the Franciscan Servant Scholars, the Career Ready Grant Program, numerous internship related programs, and most recently, the Stritch Experience, have been hallmarks in what has been a continuous thread of Sean infusing experiential learning into the fabric of a Stritch education.  It is work that has helped students survive and thrive in earning their degrees, and collaborative contributions that have aligned powerfully with the Franciscan values that Sean has adhered to with humility and distinction.  At Cardinal Stritch University, we feel truly blessed to have Sean as our colleague, and believe strongly that he is eminently well-qualified and deserving of the Joel Read Civic Engagement Practitioners’ Award.


2017 WiCC Awards!!    On April 6, 2017, the Civic Engagement Institute celebrated students, faculty and community partnerships making a difference around Wisconsin, recognizing outstanding civic engagement practices by individuals and organizations at (or partnered with) WiCC member institutions through three awards.

Check out award dinner photos!

The Esther Letven Community-Campus Partnership Award, given to Alverno Girls’ Academy of Science & Mathematics /Alverno College and Edgewood College Saint Vincent De Paul Partnership  recognizes outstanding campus- community partnerships that produce measurable community impact as well as student growth and learning.  2017 Esther Letven Award Press Release

The Jack Keating Student Civic Leadership Award, given to Marquette University’s Allison Dikanovic and Madison College’s Samantha Hunter, honors students who work towards fulfilling the civic mission of their institution and Wisconsin Campus Compact. 2017 Jack Keating Award Press Release

The Sister Joel Read Civic Engagement Practitioners Award, given to UW-Stevens Point’s Dorothy De Boer and UW-Parkside’s Jonathan Shailor, recognizes outstanding faculty or staff members who have made significant contributions to civic engagement on their campus.  2017 Sister Joel Read Award Press Release

National Awards