Student earns Newman Civic Fellows Award
By Ty Hollowell
University Relations and Creative Services Office
A University of Central Arkansas biology student has been named the only 2016 Newman Civic Fellows awardee in the state.
UCA undergraduate student Lillian McEntire, of North Little Rock, is one of 218 students from various colleges and universities in the U.S. and Mexico to be selected for the Newman Civic Fellows Award.
The Newman Civic Fellows Award honors inspiring college student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country.
Inspired by a basketball commercial where she first heard of the Food Recovery Network, McEntire jumped at the opportunity to get a chapter on campus. This organization works with restaurants and businesses to save food from being trashed and instead, given to those in need. Pioneered on campus in April of 2015, the UCA chapter of the Food Recovery Network was registered and recognized on campus in December 2015. Food recovery donations began in March 2016. Currently, the UCA chapter has more than 30 student members.
“Saving food from otherwise being wasted by donating to those in need is taking a step in the right direction,” said McEntire. “Arkansas is second behind Mississippi in people who are food insecure, meaning they experience limited access to adequate food. I hope to see members and others get involved with the same passion to see change in the community of UCA and Conway as a whole.”
President Tom Courtway nominated McEntire for the Newman Civic Fellows Award in a letter stating, “Lillian is a student who is invested in her community, in learning about social issues and in using creative problem-solving to address those issues at their roots. She has the motivation and capability to lead other students in these efforts, and UCA is truly fortunate to have her in our talented and giving student body.”
Majoring in biology, McEntire stays busy with academics while also having a strong presence on campus. She is a UCA Ambassador, providing a friendly face while giving campus tours and is an Honors Ambassador, introducing prospective students to the UCA Honors College.
“Lillian has shown exceptional initiative in her short time at UCA and has brought so many stakeholders together around the issue of hunger,” said Lesley Graybeal, service learning program coordinator, who assisted McEntire in lauching UCA’s chapter of the Food Recovery Network. “A lot of people may have ideas about how to solve problems on our campus and in our community, but turning ideas into action is much more challenging, and that’s exactly what Lillian has done.”