SF State News {University Communications}

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Sophia Trimboli earns Newman Civic Fellow Award

May 31, 2011 -- International Relations major Sophia Trimboli has earned a 2011 Newman Civic Fellow Award for her leadership and community service. Trimboli was one of 137 students honored by Campus Compact for using their college experience to find lasting solutions to community problems.

photo of Sophia Trimboli

Sophia Trimboli, who was named a 2011 Newman Civic Fellow.

During her freshman year, Trimboli helped launch an initiative called Bridge Nicaragua, which raised funds for laptops and textbooks for a poor village in Nicaragua. In addition to fundraising, Trimboli and a group of SF State students visited the village to consult with local leaders.

"We felt it was important not to just throw money at the problem," Trimboli said. "We facilitated meetings with the local community, where they decided how the funds should be used."

Trimboli's experience in Nicaragua, as well as courses in international relations and environmental policy, developed her interest in how to facilitate group decision-making.

"If you can facilitate a group, rather than lead it, people will be self-motivated and empowered to solve their problems," Trimboli said. "That's what creates long-lasting change in the community."

In the Bay Area, Trimboli has volunteered with Outer Voices, an organization which produces radio documentaries about underreported stories around the world. She helped develop a high school course to teach students to think critically about international issues in the mass media.   

Now entering her senior year, Trimboli is active in speech and debate at the regional and national level, and uses her speeches to encourage students to make a difference in the world.

In addition to being named a Newman Civic Fellow, Trimboli has been chosen to represent SF State at a June 8 ceremony in New Orleans where the University will receive the Presidential Award, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to community service. SF State will be one of six colleges in the nation to receive the Presidential Award, which is part of the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

"I am totally honored to be representing this amazing institution," Trimboli said.

The Newman Civic Fellows Awards are granted by Campus Compact, a national coalition of college and university presidents who are committed to promoting civic and social responsibility through higher education.

-- Elaine Bible


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