Civic Wolff Fellows continue to support local Spokane organizations


February 23, 2022
Opportunity Northeast

Each year, up to six Gonzaga students are selected to serve as Center for Community Engagement Civic Fellows. These year-long paid fellowships provide students the opportunity to work alongside local non-profit organizations to strengthen community capacity and civic engagement. The program was launched in 2016, thanks to the generous support of the Wolff family and has received additional sponsorship from Washington Campus Compact over the past two years. 

Fellowships engage students in unique community-based projects designed around Gonzaga’s seven Arrupe Engagement Pathways: Advocacy & Awareness, Community-Engaged Learning & Research, Direct Service, Faith & Justice, Philanthropy, Policy & Politics, and Social Innovation. Through these powerful experiences, fellows explore the connection between their disciplinary/career interests and public service, learn about community needs and assets, and partner with community organizations to build community capacity.  

Two fellows are currently engaged in projects in Northeast Spokane - Michelle Rickwa (left) is completing her fellowship with The ZoNE and Mae Cramer (right) serving with the Logan Neighborhood Council

Michelle’s projects span from developing a new client management system to interviewing residents for The ZoNE’s “Stories of Impact” blog posts. Jene Ray, Associate Director of The ZoNE, has been impressed with Michelle’s passion, curiosity, and humility as she jumped into her Civic Fellow role at The ZoNE. Jene noted, “Michelle has asked to step out of her comfort zone and interview residents... Her stories have been shared and reshared on Facebook, building community and focusing on fantastic residents and work happening in our neighborhoods.” 

Similarly, Mae Cramer eagerly supports the Logan Neighborhood Council by assisting with the coordination of neighborhood meetings and events. Logan Council Chair, Lindsey Shaw, shared that Mae has made Shaw’s “job in the neighborhood better” and that she is “so grateful for Mae’s understanding, counsel and assistance.” 

Upon reflection, Mae shared that the greatest lessons this fellowship has taught her are the lessons of community: “I have learned what a strong community the residents of the Logan Neighborhood are and how much they truly love their home...while most of us (students) are here for four years and then off to somewhere else to begin our careers, we are in another’s forever home, in their neighborhood. I think it is important to realize this and think about the larger Spokane community with everything we do.”  

Both Michelle and Mae aspire to work in public service careers. Michelle hopes to continue her studies in the area of community health and Mae plans to engage in advocacy work as an attorney or in the political sphere.  

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