Kate Kemper
Center for Service Learning

Radhia Abdirahman named a Newman Civic Fellow

Wed, 04/21/2021

LAWRENCE — From across the country, college and university presidents of Campus Compact member institutions have nominated promising student leaders as Newman Civic Fellows. Through service, research and advocacy, these fellows have demonstrated an investment in their community and are working to better understand themselves, the root causes of social issues and effective mechanisms for creating lasting change.

Radhia Abdirahman, a junior in human biology, global & international studies and African & African diasporic languages, is KU’s Newman Civic Fellow for 2021-2022. She is from Overland Park and Vancouver, British Columbia, and a graduate of Tamanawis Secondary School. As a Somali-Muslim woman with an innate desire to help those around her, Abdirahman brings a unique outlook and perspective to service and community engagement.

“Across the groups that Radhia provides leadership, she has a commitment to advancing both ethical service and cultural competence and humility. Each of the organizations Radhia is affiliated with support campus and community efforts to address social issues and foster change and improvement in communities, including with often underrepresented groups,” KU Chancellor Douglas A. Girod said.

Abdirahman currently serves as the development director for the KU Center for Community Outreach and has been instrumental in providing structure and direction for student leaders and volunteers through training, membership development, service hours and more.

As the co-director of advocacy for HEAL KU, Abdirahman has raised awareness about a number of social issues, such as student homelessness, suicide prevention and voter engagement, through strategic internal and external communication.

Not long after Abdirahman joined the KU Muslim Student Association as a first-year student, she became the organization’s vice president. In this role, she integrated a mentorship service project at the local mosque into Islamic Awareness Week. The volunteer opportunity was so successful that it has sustained as a standalone offering by the organization outside of its advocacy week.

Abdirahman joins a cohort of over 200 students from across the country in a yearlong program that includes training, virtual learning opportunities and an annual fellow convening. The opportunities available to the Newman Civic Fellows include attendance at the national Newman Civic Fellows conference, participation in regional and state gatherings of Newman Civic Fellows, engagement with a virtual event series focused on skill development and professional learning, and guidance from a local mentor.

Campus Compact advances the public purpose of over 1,000 colleges and universities by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. For more information, please visit

The Center for Service Learning will celebrate Radhia Abdirahman, CSL Award recipients and graduates from the Certificate in Service Learning program at their annual Service Showcase and Celebration at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, April 22.

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