Scott Andrews is president of both URI’s Chapter of Habitat for Humanity and the URI College Democrats. These roles merge his passions and reflect his belief that a gap exists between community service and political activism, a gap Andrews works to bridge.
He envisions students raising a roof on a Habitat house in the morning and advocating for affordable housing at the Statehouse in the afternoon.
It’s not surprising that Campus Compact chose this man of action for its first group of 135 Newman Civic Fellows. The fellows come from 30 states. The award, named after the late Frank Newman, a founder of Campus Compact and URI president from 1974 to 1983, honors inspiring college student leaders who through service, research, and advocacy are making the most of their college experiences to better understand themselves, the root causes of social issues, and effective mechanisms for creating lasting change. Newman Civic Fellows are nominated by their college presidents.
Andrews spent his freshman year at the University of Miami and witnessed what he said was corporate greed that led to the country’s financial meltdown. He began to take stock of himself and his personal values. He heard presidential candidate Barack Obama ask citizens to believe in their own abilities to change the world, saying “we are the ones we have been waiting for.”
Inspired, Andrews headed home and enrolled at URI. He became an active member of community service groups including URI Habitat for Humanity, URI SAVES (Students Actively Volunteering and Engaging in Service), and Student United Way. He switched his major from business to political science.
“This is the right decision. URI is the place for me,” he said, noting that his mother and father earned their bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University. He plans to take time off for the presidential race, graduating either in December 2012 or May 2013.
Last summer, he turned a three-week stint in U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s Providence office into a yearlong internship. This summer, Andrews is interning in the senator’s Washington, D.C., office.
For the past year, Andrews has volunteered with the Obama for America organization, building on the grassroots movement that elected the president by empowering communities across the country.
In appreciation, Andrews was invited to meet President Obama on the tarmac as Air Force One arrived in Rhode Island last fall and to attend Michelle Obama’s Holiday Open House dinner at the White House in December.