William Paterson University Student Jaime Harris ’22 Wins National Award for Civic Engagement

Jaime Harris

Harris on site during a community service project

William Paterson University junior Jaime Harris, of Edison, New Jersey, is one of 212 students from the United States and Mexico and one of only three in New Jersey to receive the 2021-2022 Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellows Award for civic engagement. Campus Compact is the largest national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement. 

Harris, a triple major studying early childhood education, liberal studies, and disability studies, has served the William Paterson University and local communities by participating in more than 25 University-coordinated civic engagement activities. As a member of WP’s Changebuilder program, created in cooperation with NJ Campus Compact, she also organizes activities that encourage students to serve our campus and local community.

Jaime’s passion for civic engagement—a core value at William Paterson University—includes working to address issues of food insecurity on campus by volunteering at the Pioneer Food Pantry, as well as local shelter and the New Jersey Community Food Bank. She is also committed to helping children by assembling school supply kits and volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club. Harris serves the WP community as a Resident Assistant and Student Ambassador, and was inducted into WP LEADS Honor society for her commitment to leadership and civic engagement.

As President of Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity, Harris also works behind the scenes to support many in-person and virtual community service events.

Harris has been “helping address public concerns” for as long as she can remember, she explains, noting how she was an active Girl Scout starting at age 5 and volunteered in high school at local soup kitchens on weekends. She says that it can be “very hard” to make a difference in the world as one person, but that one person can make a difference in someone else’s life, and for that reason, she will always “keep trying.”

“I’ve always loved helping people and the University’s commitment to community service has only motivated me to stay involved and to continue to do community service whenever I can,” Harris says. “I have met so many people [on campus] that have inspired me to continue participating in projects.”

Through its fellowship, Campus Compact provides students with training and resources that nurture their passion and help them develop strategies for social change. The yearlong program includes virtual learning opportunities and networking as part of a national network of engaged student leaders and an optional in-person convening.

“My goal is to continue to help address public concerns as much as I can, and try to encourage others to do the same,” Harris says, adding that receiving the award is “a tremendous honor.”

After graduation, Harris aspires to become a teacher of young students, up to third grade, and/or one who works with students with disabilities.