The Center for Civic Engagement sought nominations from our community for students who are leading in their community through various forms of civic engagement (direct service, philanthropy/giving, activism/advocacy, etc.). The criteria for students is not based upon held leadership roles, but rather a devotion to social change and bettering their community. Read on to learn about the students being spotlighted this term.
Kristy Milien loved Oregon State the first time she stepped on campus, and she was able to immediately find a home here. A senior in Merchandising Management, she saw a lack of professional development opportunities for her and her peers, and helped found OSU’s chapter of the National Retail Federation Student Association. She’s especially passionate about sustainability within the retail industry. Kristy is a member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority, and resonates with her chapter’s work with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Kristy is exploring how she can continue to work with St. Jude’s.
Kristy’s family immigrated to the US from Haiti, and she says her family has helped her keep things in perspective. She credits her bridge program and her ongoing support from the Education Opportunities Program as vital pieces of her support network, and says that her Tri-Delta sisters constantly inspire her by demonstrating the tangible difference a group of women can make with shared passions and goals.
Kristy hopes to move to New York following graduation; she is deeply invested in continuing to build community with other Haitians, and incorporating her culture and heritage into her future work. Being involved at OSU has helped her further realize her priorities, and she’s grateful for everything she’s been able to get involved in here.
Originally from Portland, Breonna Keller-Robbins is a second year here at OSU. She refers to her custom liberal arts major as “human rights and government;” it includes political science, women, gender & sexuality studies, ethnic studies, and queer studies, plus a social justice minor. She was previously a Community Relations Facilitator with UHDS, which involves peer education and liaising with the cultural resource centers to promote inclusive and welcoming communities in residence halls.
Looking forward, Breonna knows she wants to continue helping to support college students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. The Educational Opportunities Program (EOP) at Oregon State has been instrumental in her college experience, starting before she even arrived in Corvallis; in her words, it’s really difficult to succeed in a system that’s not built for you. After a tough first year, her EOP support network and her family kept her engaged.
Breonna emphasizes that in her work, she prioritizes equity over equality: some people simply need more help to get where everyone else already is. She is also involved with the Black Student Union. She remarks that you have to seek out the social justice community yourself; it won’t seek you out. Breonna hopes to get even more involved in community dialogues and EOP next year, all while continuing to be “unapologetically Breonna.”
Brandon Moses is a third year in sociology, and is heavily involved on campus. He’s in his third year of living in the residence halls, and is currently a Community Relations Facilitator, organizing social justice programs, and intentionally engaging with his residents who may have less support on campus due to their marginalized identities. He says living in the International Living-Learning Center has broadened his worldview, and this year became an INTO Cultural Ambassador.
Brandon is also a member of Omega Delta Phi Fraternity, volunteers for Beaver Hangouts, and is a member of the Pacific Islander Club. Currently he is the only Micronesian club member; his family immigrated to the US in the 1990’s. He credits his family for pushing and motivating him, and he values his multicultural background highly. He says that hospitality and generosity are second nature to him, and that the first step to improving his community is improving himself. Above all else, if he could give the world anything, it would be more empathy and understanding for one another.
Brandon is considering student affairs as a profession; he’s exploring how he can use his perspective and knowledge to help students explore all their possibilities. He wants to create inclusive spaces for everyone and continue being a role model in his community.