Georgia College Student Kelly Bosquette Earns 2020 Newman Civic Fellowship

Georgia College Student Kelly Bosquette Earns 2020 Newman Civic Fellowship

Kelly Bousquette
Kelly Bousquette

From the stories she'd heard about the Central State Hospital campus, Kelly Bousquette expected to find hollowed out halls and ghostly buildings in various states of disrepair, but what she found was surprisingly lush. 

"It's not as creepy as a lot of people say it is," Bousquette said, speaking of her visit last October with a city councilman and the local redevelopment director. They met to talk about how her organization, Students for Change, might be able to help revitalize use of the grounds. Her organization, started officially in September of 2019, has in the words of Georgia College President Dr. Steve Dorman, created a "very important link between Georgia College students and the larger community." It was this link that earned her a place among the nearly 300 nationwide recipients of the 2020 Newman Civic Fellowship. 

Bousquette was unaware of her nomination for the award. Her primary goal was always helping people. Her mission, in creating Students for Change, was to "help advocate, fundraise, and aid with the CSHLRA (Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority) projects including the development of a community garden/greenhouse, homeless shelter, rape crisis center, and mental health museum," said Bousquette. If that sounds like a lot to take on at once, it's nothing compared to what Bousquette was doing before. 

On top of majoring in liberal studies, psychology, sociology, and criminal justice, Bousquette was in six or seven student organizations during her freshman year, including GC Miracle, Habitat for Humanity, Gamma Sigma Sigma, among many others.

 "In my sophomore year, I got some advice, in the nicest way possible, that I should maybe focus my attention because I wouldn't get as much done spreading myself so thin," Bousquette said.  

The Newman Civic Fellowship was created to recognize students for their contribution to public issues. It will grant Bousquette access to resources and mentorships throughout the 2020-2021 academic year, as well as scholarship and post-graduate opportunities. Bousquette is hoping that she'll be able to pass on the knowledge to the leaders in her organization. The award will also come with a certificate later this month. This comes at a time when Bousquette's organization is temporarily on lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Her mission, in creating Students for Change, was to "help advocate, fundraise, and aid with the CSHLRA (Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority) projects including the development of a community garden/greenhouse, homeless shelter, rape crisis center, and mental health museum," said Bousquette

"April was going to be our biggest month," Bousquette said, "We were going to have our drive for the Bright House." 

The Bright House in Milledgeville is a division of the Southern Crescent Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy Center which as been working with Students for Change. They had intended to open up the house for tours in April as well, as well as hosting Sounds of the South, a large benefit bar crawl in downtown Milledgeville, but now those will have to be postponed. She's still hopeful that they'll be able to hold the drive virtually.

 "I'm also in the GC Service Council, and right now, every Tuesday, we're holding webinars on how you can have virtual meetings for your organization, but I know that every family is struggling. It's something that I'm struggling with myself. It's an adjustment that I haven't gotten used to just yet." 

With everyone still reeling from the tumult that the global lockdown has created, the only thing that is assured is that the world will need more students like Kelly Bousquette in the aftermath. More students with the drive to help solve civic issues, bridge the gaps between universities and communities, and who are not afraid to go into those areas that need help the most and offer it.