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UNCA student honored with Community Impact Student Award
Friday, 01 January 2021 14:49

UNC Asheville junior and Student Government Association President London Newton has been named a recipient of the Community Impact Student Award from North Carolina Campus Compact.

The award recognizes one student leader at each member school that demonstrates a deep commitment to community involvement and the ability to inspire peers. 


As UNCA’s Student Government Association president, Newton has prioritized advocating for the inclusion of student voices, particularly students of color, in administrative decision making. Examples include collaborating with UNCA Provost Garikai Campbell on four town halls for students of color to share experiences and help identify priorities for campus; including students in the interview process for hiring university police officers; and reconsidering how merit is defined in awarding scholarships. 


She was also a driving force behind Student Rights Week this fall, sponsored by SGA and other campus partners, that offered opportunities for students to learn about their rights as tenants, activists, voters, and taxpayers. Newton has also been involved in foundation conversations that led to the development of the university’s Racial Justice Roadmap. 


“Diversity is an outcome of equity and inclusion; we should not be focused on just bringing Black and brown people here if we’re not prepared for them,” Newton said in an interview early in the fall semester. “UNCA is the best place to start doing anti-racism work, but we are not where we need to be and there’s a lot of work that needs to be done.”


Newton’s efforts have contributed to the University having a clearer stance on the Black Lives Matter movement, as evidenced in multiple communications by the administration, a Black Lives Matter banner hanging on the library, and the Black Lives Matter mural painted on campus. 


Newton has been heavily engaged in racial justice work both on campus and in the wider Asheville community. She became involved in organizing protests in downtown Asheville and mobilizing people in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. She was the organizer of the Black Liberation Celebration that took place in downtown Asheville on July 4, and, along with fellow student and SGA Executive of Student Advocacy Sean Miller, assisted with a medic station at Asheville’s Black Lives Matter protests, which became the subject of national news. She helped start Asheville for Justice with a group of peers to help raise over $20,000 to supply mutual aid through funds, security, medical attention, meals for houseless individuals, and training in de-escalation and overall protest safety, including medic training. 


“There’s one good thing about everything seemingly falling apart, and it’s that now we can rebuild it to be whatever we want,” Newton said in her commencement address to graduating students. “I hope that with every step we take we are making steps towards the world that we want to live in, and the world we want future generations to live in.”



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