April 4, 2017
By Tommy Benson '17
College of Saint Benedict junior Allie Kanyetzny and Saint John’s University junior Matthew Burgstahler have been named 2017 Newman Civic Fellows.
The Newman Civic Fellowship is a one-year fellowship for community-committed college students from Campus Compact member institutions. The fellowship honors the late Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders and an advocate for civic engagement in higher education.
A total of 273 students were selected nationwide to receive the fellowship. Seven students were honored from Minnesota colleges and universities.
Kanyetzny, a peace studies major from Ramsey, Minnesota, has a desire to aide those in need. This desire drove her to start her own charity, Allie’s Wish, which has been helping needy children since it began in 2005, when Kanyetzny was 10 years old.
Foregoing birthday presents and other luxuries, Kanyetzny has devoted her time and effort into her charity. Allie’s Wish sponsors one disabled child each year as it works to create a meaningful relationship with the child, while raising money to fund the child’s medical bills and raise awareness for the particular illness at stake.
Kanyetzny’s dream is to continue to grow Allie’s Wish, to the point of reaching official non-profit status.
“Allie’s Wish is my life and has created the woman I am today. I will forever be grateful for having this amazing opportunity,” Kanyetzny said.
“Allie began this work as a 10-year-old, and her ongoing commitment to this cause has inspired others to give back to their communities in similar ways,” said CSB President Mary Dana Hinton.
Burgstahler, an integrative health science major from Sandpoint, Idaho, has made it his mission to further holistic medicine, integrating his experience in peace studies and social philosophy to confront the issue of social determinism in the health care industry.
He spent a summer working at the non-profit WellShare International, contributing to the health-care company’s humanitarian community engagement work. His experience at WellShare has inspired him toward a new venture next year at the Citizens League in St. Paul, Minnesota, working to improve intergenerational conversations in health care.
Burgstahler also volunteers at the St. Cloud Hospital, Anna Marie’s shelter, Special Olympics St. Cloud and the Missionvale Care Center in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
“The goal of life is happiness for ourselves and others through service, and to dispel suffering and injustice anywhere it is present,” Burgstahler said.
“Matthew is a servant leader who acts on his values and is a credit to Saint John’s and the entire Minnesota community,” said SJU President Michael Hemesath.
Campus Compact, a Boston-based non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education, sponsors the fellowship.
Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides a variety of learning and networking opportunities, including a national conference of Newman Civic Fellows in partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The fellowship also provides fellows with access to exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.