Jacob J. Fleming Sr., a junior media production major at Buffalo State University, has been named a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact, a national coalition of colleges and universities working to advance the public purposes of higher education. Fleming is one of 154 student civic leaders who make up the organization’s 2023–2024 cohort, which comprises students from 38 states, Washington, D.C., and Mexico.
The Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes students who stand out for their commitment to creating positive change in communities locally and around the world. The fellowship is named for the late Frank Newman, one of the compact’s founders and a tireless advocate for civic engagement in higher education.
Fleming is a strong scholar who has received numerous awards and accolades, including the Class of 1945 Golden Anniversary Scholarship and induction into Buffalo State’s Rho Psi Chapter of the Lambda Pi Eta National Communication Association Honor Society. Fleming said his studies and his passion for social justice are linked because of the key role that clear, honest, and authentic communication plays in fighting injustice.
His extracurricular accolades include the 2022 President’s Certificate of Recognition for Community Engagement for his tireless work with Niagara County Community College’s Alpha Pi Beta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year colleges; the Niagara Falls Community Lions Club; and Niagara Falls Peacemakers. Through his work with NCCC, Fleming has been a mentor to dozens of high school and college students advancing their lives through education.
Fleming has also worked with the Nikola Tesla Social Innovation Center and the Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope, inaugurated the 2020 Niagara Falls Juneteenth Celebration and the 2022 Juneteenth Parade and Festival, and served on the Niagara Falls Healthcare Disparities Task Force.
Through the Campus Compact Fellowship, students like Fleming are provided with a year of opportunities that emphasize personal, professional, and civic growth, including networking events, training and skill-building workshops, and access to exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.
“[His] enthusiasm for his campus and his community reinforces that Jacob Fleming is very deserving of this opportunity,” said Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner. “He is an outstanding representative of SUNY Buffalo State’s civic and community engagement efforts.”
Campus Compact President Bobbie Laur added, “We are honored to recognize such an outstanding group of community-committed students. One of the best parts of the Newman Civic Fellowships is the richness of students’ perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds—and how these varied stories all led to their passionate engagement with the social, political, and environmental issues impacting our world. These students will be the catalysts for change on many levels, and we are privileged to help empower them to create that change.”
Fleming said his education and experience, coupled with his unbridled optimism, give him hope for the future, and being honored as a 2023 Newman Civic Fellow is only further inspiration to keep him focused on fostering change.
“I feel that in my heart, the honor and privilege of participating in this program will afford me, my university, and my community the resources and opportunity to address some of our social issues resulting in unprecedented change,” he said.
The Newman Civic Fellowship program is supported by the Lumina Foundation.
About Campus Compact
Campus Compact is a national coalition of colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. Campus Compact supports institutions in fulfilling their public purposes by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. As the largest national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, Campus Compact provides professional development to administrators and faculty to enable them to engage effectively, facilitate national partnerships connecting campuses with key issues in their local communities, build pilot programs to test and refine promising models in engaged teaching and scholarship, celebrate and cultivate student civic leadership, and convene higher education institutions and partners beyond higher education to share knowledge and develop collective capacity.
Photo by Jesse Steffan-Colucci, Buffalo State photographer.