WPU Student Selected as Inaugural 2024 North Carolina Civic Impact Fellow

January 30, 2024
WPU student Chris Simmering

William Peace University student Christopher Simmering was selected as one of only eight students for the inaugural cohort of the North Carolina Civic Impact Fellowship (CIF). Sponsored by North Carolina Campus Engagement, this fellowship is a new statewide program that recognizes exceptional students with demonstrated civic engagement leadership abilities and empowers them to design a project to create a meaningful impact on their campus’ civic life.

Christopher was nominated for this honor by William Peace University President Dr. Brian Ralph, as well as William Peace University administrators.

About Simmering
Christopher, a sophomore majoring in Political Science, is an active participant in the civic life of William Peace University. As the co-founder of the William Peace Civic Order student organization, Christopher leads the organization of events and initiatives that aim to promote peaceful political discourse and promote civic engagement, civic action, civic literacy, civility, and civic involvement on campus and in the local community. Christopher has hosted dialogues on campus, hosted a Constitution Day event on behalf of WPU, and organized a Constitution Series.

Through his participation in the 2023 NC Campus Engagement Redesigning Democracy Competition, where Christopher and his team competed with collegiate teams from across the state to design an innovative solution to a modern democratic challenge, Christopher and his team secured the $500 first-place prize. Now, this prize money is being used to fund further initiatives to educate students about their rights and the law. Christopher is considered a leader on campus, both to those within the organizations that he is involved with as well as other student organization officers.

In his Letter of Support for Christopher’s nomination to the Fellowship, President Ralph stated, “Christopher has made a tremendous impact on our campus community in such a short amount of time.” He continues to say that he looks forward to seeing how Christopher’s participation in the NC Civic Impact Fellowship will “positively impact the WPU community in the coming years.”

CIF Next Steps
From January 2024 to May 2025, Christopher and his CIF cohort will dive into a transformative fellowship curriculum that will equip them with professional skills and leadership development training. Their Fellowship term includes participation in a Citizen Redefined Leadership Camp, developed by Citizen University (CU), a national nonprofit dedicated to spreading a belief that a strong democracy relies on strong citizens—that we all have the power to make change happen in civic life, and the responsibility to try. Citizen University is also providing funding support for the Fellow’s projects.

With these tools, the NC Civic Impact Fellows will be prepared to advocate for the advancement of civic growth within the campus community. As a key element of his fellowship responsibilities, Christopher will assess civic life on campus and lead a project that he will design to improve a specific area of campus civic culture.

About NCCE
North Carolina Campus Engagement (NCCE) is a collaborative network of 39 colleges and universities committed to educating students for civic and social responsibility, partnering with communities for positive change, and strengthening democracy. The NC Campus Engagement state office fosters connections between campuses, shares best practice information and resources, recognizes outstanding work, and champions civic and community engagement in higher education.