University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


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phone: (715) 836-4741
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Two Student Leaders Selected
To Attend Civic Leadership Fellows Program

 MAILED:  Sept. 16, 2003

EAU CLAIRE — Two University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students were among 10 students from Wisconsin selected to attend the first Student Civic Leadership Institute Fellows program Sept. 11-14 in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Eric Ristau, a junior political science and economics major from Eleva, and Kate Demerse, a junior political science major from Green Bay, joined students from Minnesota and Iowa for the program, which exists to promote students as powerful citizen leaders.

“Both Eric and Kate have been active in campus and community life since they came to UW-Eau Claire,” said Service Learning Director Donald Mowry, who nominated them. “They both place a high value on service to the community and will benefit greatly from this experience.”

Ristau represented Wisconsin as an invited student participant at the Campus Compact Annual Summit last fall. He helped plan and implement the “Raise Your Voice” event on campus last February. He served on the search and screen committee charged with hiring the first executive director for Wisconsin Campus Compact. He is a Campus Ambassador, a member of the UW System Academic and Career Advising Task Force and director of the Academic Affairs Commission of the Student Senate.

Demerse is vice president of the student body. She is a member of the Concert Choir, a religious education teacher for the campus Newman parish and will be a resident assistant next spring in one of the residence halls. She is in the Honors Program and last spring was a volunteer at the Children’s Center, where she spent every Thursday afternoon with 15 2-year-olds.

Mowry said the Leadership Institute was designed to provide students with the time and tools to reflect on their ideas of leadership, citizenship and coalition building. They learned about different institutional change strategies, diversity training and stakeholder accountability.

“They will return to campus and help with this year’s ‘Raise Your Voice Campaign’ that starts in mid-February and other statewide projects,” Mowry said. “This effort fits in with other campus efforts, such as the American Democracy Project, to counter the trend that young people are disengaged and disillusioned with government and politics.

“I think students today are more engaged than ever in service activities and we need to expand on that strength by supporting student development opportunities such as this.”

Ristau and Demerse will be responsible for implementing local action plans, working with faculty, staff and local community members to support local civic engagement initiatives and taking part in a steering committee to guide the development and implementation of a statewide, inter-institutional civic leadership program in Wisconsin.

The institute was co-sponsored by Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota Campus Compacts as part of the “Raise Your Voice: Student Action for Change Campaign.” The compacts are coalitions of college/university presidents and chancellors who are actively working to renew the civic purpose of higher education through service-learning, outreach and other forms of community engagement. UW-Eau Claire was a charter member of Wisconsin Campus Compact.


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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741

Updated: September 16, 2003