Civic Newman Fellowship recipient Abigail Salvucci to create student volunteer opportunities at FSU

Abigail Salvucci has played many roles during her first three years at FSU, including resident assistant, SGA vice president, honors student, and now Newman Civic Fellowship winner and class of 2021 president.

The Newman Civic Fellowship “recognizes and supports community-committed students who are changemakers and public problem-solvers at Campus Compact member institutions,” according to the Campus Contact website. 

Students must submit a resume of their civic community work to their school in order to be nominated. Only one student from each participating school can be chosen.

“I hadn’t heard of the Newman Civic Fellowship before. I received a text from my friend Matty Bennet, current President of SGA and a member of the Community Engagement group on campus, [asking] if I would be interested in being nominated for a community service fellowship. It sounded exciting, so I said yes, and I sent him my resume,” said Salvucci, a sociology major with a double minor in anthropology and political science.

Connie Cabello, vice president for diversity, inclusion and community engagement, sent the nomination to President F. Javier Cevallos and the Campus Connect team, and they approved it.

Cevallos said Salvucci won the award because she is a “student leader active in addressing issues of food insecurity and homelessness.

“As a sophomore, she led a group of 25 students to Washington D.C. for a week to assist local shelters and missionaries, as part of the Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program. She has also participated in an ASB trip to Memphis, where students worked with an organization to repair abandoned homes so they can be used by residents in need of housing.”

Cevallos added that Salvucci has also helped develop the program Weekend Bags, which “provides personal hygiene items to students who lack resources when the University is closed.”

Salvucci said the year-long fellowship will provide her with “resources and programs needed to develop [her] role as community leader with community service. This includes strategies for social change and developing a network of the next generation of leaders across the United States.”

“I am currently working with Dr. Cabello and my direct mentor, Anna Cross, director of the MetroWest Non-Profit Network. My goal for this fellowship is to develop a mutually beneficial relationship between Framingham State students and the community in the city of Framingham. Framingham State students are so lucky to be within a very diverse and culturally rich city, that has so much beauty within it,” she added.

Her main goal is to “to develop a strong positive relationship of Framingham State within Framingham, by helping the direct community of non-profits.”

Salvucci said Cross’ role will be to provide a “resource for me to understand the needs of non-profit centers, and with my resources in student involvement, we hope to create a streamlined system of finding volunteers from the student body for these centers.

“It’s going to be a long project, but I am so thankful for the team I’m working with, and I can’t wait to see the outcome of the project. Even if we only help one person, that’s one more that’s been helped.”

Salvucci will also lead the Class of 2021 as president next academic year.

“I’m beyond excited for my new role as Class of 2021’s president. My main goal as president is to help share the resources for seniors to put their best foot forward after graduation.

“On campus, we already have such great resources readily available for students, but I want to create events to make them accessible for students. I would love to do an event with Career Services that helps students with LinkedIn, a headshot, resume, and their interviewing skills, as well as setting up programs for students to learn about renting an apartment, and how to pick roommates. I want to focus on real-life learning and tips that might be looked over as ‘common knowledge,’” she said. 

Salvucci hopes by planning ahead, she can lead the class of 2021 out of the COVID-10 crisis.

“My goal is to start planning these events and to put in the extra work of scheduling these now, so when we hopefully return in the fall, we can immediately get the ball rolling on our successful senior year. I think one of the strengths of Framingham State is our community, and I think especially now more than ever, that community feeling needs to be emphasized. I would want the senior class to feel an emphasis of the positive and supportive,” said Salvucci.

Along with serving as class president and undertaking the civic fellowship, Salvucci will continue to juggle being vice president of SGA and a resident assistant. 

“I thought about running for president of SGA, but I reconsidered as my focus is definitely more on the students and organizations’ success. As president of SGA, you work a lot more with the administration of the University, whereas vice-president, I work more one-on-one with the students and student organizations on campus,” she said. 

Salvucci hopes to use the vice president role to further develop the Weekend Bags program and help fund the Rams Resource Center. 

Although she is unsure where she will be placed for her third year as an RA due to the coronavirus pandemic, Salvucci said the past few years serving in this role has contributed to her confidence.

“Being an RA has taught me so much about confidence and just trusting yourself. Before I took on the role my sophomore year, I questioned myself a lot and I feared how others would perceive me.

“I learned quickly with the job that you need to trust your gut, and to embrace the trust that others are putting into me. … And when you go through a couple situations where someone tries to demean you because you are a woman, you gain this untouchable confidence that I wish every woman could feel who has been degraded. That confidence changes you because you can’t be made to feel little anymore. I may be a 5’3” young woman, but I carry myself like I am a 6’5” man. RA taught me a lot about the respect I deserve and the confidence I should be carrying,” she added.

Salvucci’s inspiration for balancing so many roles comes from her family.

“I do everything I do for my family. As a Generation One student from a low-income family, I’ve seen and heard the sacrifices my family has had to go through to get me to the place I am today.

“I am the youngest of five, with a single mother, and a father who passed away from cancer when I was sixteen. My parents gave their whole lives to getting the resources my siblings and I need to be successful, and I am not going to let their efforts go to waste. All of the hardships I have gone through have taught me so much about loving one another and giving back to our community. I think of the sacrifices from my family, and I just want to make them proud,” she said.

Salvucci hopes the class of 2021 will keep their spirits up amid the crisis.

“Just remember to keep believing in the good. The world can be a scary place, but there is so much good all around you. And when you can’t see the good around you, have the strength to be the good in your world.”

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