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College of Arts and Sciences Newsroom

University of Dayton economics major named Newman Civic Fellow

By Ashley Junkunc '21

University of Dayton junior Ryan Greensfelder was awarded a Newman Civic Fellowship in recognition for his leadership and dedication toward education and food access in the Dayton community.

Greensfelder, an economics major from Cincinnati, joins 212 students in the U.S. and abroad to form the 2021-2022 cohort. This year’s group represents 39 states, Washington, D.C. and Mexico, including such prestigious institutions as Yale University, University of Notre Dame and Brown University. He is the fourth consecutive winner from the University of Dayton, following Claire Sullivan ’21, Delali Nenonene ’20 and Sarah Richard ’19.

Since 2018, Greensfelder has volunteered at the Mission of Mary Farm, a Marianist organization dedicated to solving the problem of abandoned land and limited access to locally grown fresh produce in the Dayton community. In this role, Greensfelder has helped build three urban greenhouses. This experience jump-started his passion to address the geographic barriers that restrict access to food and other resources, including education. He began to explore this disparity through the Upward Bound Program, where he tutors prospective first-generation college students in math.

Rivers Institute Director Leslie King recommended Greensfelder as a nominee for the fellowship.

“From my first meeting with Ryan, I was incredibly impressed with his dedication to the roles he plays on and off campus,” King said. “He is the type of student and person that serves as a reminder to all of us to be our best selves in all that we do and to never stop challenging ourselves to grow personally and professionally.”

Greensfelder works with King as a program member of Dayton Civic Scholars (DCS), where he is working on a group project with Gem City Market that he and his group will implement in the 2021-2022 school year for their senior capstone project. DCS is a co-curricular scholarship program through the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community that strives to shape students into civic leaders through academic tracks, civic engagements and professional development opportunities. Fifteen students are selected at the end of their first year to join the three-year program.

“I was really excited when I received the fellowship because this passion is something I haven’t been vocal about with a lot of people,” Greensfelder said. “I wanted to expand the opportunity for my capstone project and this fellowship gives me the opportunity to do that.”

The Newman Civic Fellowship is a yearlong program of Campus Compact, a Boston-based nonprofit that provides training and resources to nurture student assets and passions that help drive social change. The fellowship, named after Campus Compact founder Frank Newman, provides fellows with virtual learning, networking, optional in-person collaboration, scholarships, mentorship and post-graduate opportunities. Students in the cohort are invited to attend a two-day Newman Civic Fellows national conference that Campus Compact hosts with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate. The 2021-2022 conference is scheduled for November 2021 in Boston.

“I will work to implement the skill set I learn from the national conference into my capstone project that addresses food insecurity,” Greensfelder said. “This is how I will bring what I’ve learned from the fellowship back to the Dayton community.”

University President Eric F. Spina nominated Greensfelder for the Newman Civic Fellowship. He applauded Greensfelder’s demonstration of servant leadership and community engagement.

“Through servant leadership, Ryan has met the short-term needs of organizations and fostered the seeds of community partnerships in the Dayton community,” Spina wrote in his nomination. “Ryan believes in the University’s commitment to inclusive excellence and being an anti-racist University and strives to incorporate these principles into his daily life, his civic engagement and his vocational path.”

Greensfelder is a member of Flyer Radio and president of the Eagle Scout fraternity, Epsilon Tau Pi. He is collaborating on his honors thesis with assistant professor of economics Joseph Duggan to research energy markets through the lense of the energy trilemma 一 a prosperity-predicting model using affordability and access, energy security and environmental sustainability. He believes his economic studies at the University have paved the way for his success in receiving this fellowship.

“I love the broad nature of economics and how it focuses on social behaviors of individuals in society,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of great personable relationships with my professors, which is why I love the University of Dayton 一 it provides the resources of a large state school with the benefits of a smaller school.”

For more information, visit the Campus Compact website.

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