The 2020 John D. Welty Award for Excellence in Community Service will be presented to Fresno State senior D’Aungillique Jackson. The award, which includes a $2,500 scholarship, is given each year to a student who exemplifies the commitment to service that Welty championed during his 22 years as president at Fresno State.
Inspired by her own initiative and deep investment in dismantling racism, Jackson, who is majoring in sociology, has dedicated over 350 hours of service to the community during the past academic year.
“As an organizer, community service has always been a passion of mine,” Jackson said. “In times of need it’s important that we come together to support one another, and this is something I will continue to practice. I’m so thankful and honored to have received this award.”
As the president of the campus chapter of the NAACP, Jackson took the lead in organizing what was described as the largest peaceful demonstration in the history of Fresno on May 31 in front of Fresno Police Department headquarters. The demonstration, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, called for improved community safety and police reform. In light of the protest, the Fresno Commission on Police Reform was created and Jackson was appointed as co-chair of the community input subcommittee.
As co-chair of the subcommittee, Jackson successfully advocated for collaboration with the Sociology Department at Fresno State to collect and analyze data to present to the Commission on Police Reform. She also helped develop the data collection techniques to derive community feedback and community perceptions of policing and police reform in Fresno.
In her role as president of the campus chapter of NAACP, Jackson also led the effort to address systemic racism in Fresno-area public schools following a social media incident involving a Clovis Unified School District high school student. The club’s research team collected data from over 4,000 Clovis Unified alumni on their experiences during their time as students. Jackson coordinated a meeting with Clovis Unified administration to present the findings and called on the administration to address the culture of bias some feel exists.
Jackson also helped lead four workshops and panels on the 2020 California election, the 2020 census, the importance of voting and student activism. All of these events were designed to empower other students to get more involved in the community.
“This is the first time in my 10 years of teaching service-learning courses at Fresno State when I had a Fresno State student leader co-collaborate to develop meaningful opportunities to connect classroom learning to community change,” said Fresno State Professor Janine Nkosi.
The John D. Welty Award for Excellence in Community Service is sponsored by Fresno State’s Community Service Scholarship Program, in memory of Marc and Marjorie Radin, who shared Welty’s dedication for engaging students in service and making the region a better place. The Welty Award is administered by the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning and the Career Development Center at Fresno State.
For more information, contact Taylan Parker, Richter Center, at 559.278.7079.
(Story by Taylan Parker)