UNC Greensboro student Kalonji Jegede-Roberts has been recognized for outstanding leadership and service by North Carolina Campus Compact, a statewide network of colleges and universities that are committed to community engagement.
Jegede-Roberts received the network’s Community Impact Student Award, which honors one student leader at each member school. The award recognizes students that demonstrate commitment to partnering with others to address community issues, ability to lead and inspire fellow students, and sustainable impact in their areas of work.
Jegede-Roberts is one of 19 students across the state to receive the 2020 award, joining more than 300 college students honored by the organization since the award was first presented in 2006.
“As a Black, queer, nontraditional, and first-generation college student, I acknowledge this recognition as a personal milestone, and also as a reminder that it is important to define yourself for yourself and align yourself with what feels right for you,” said Jegede-Roberts. “In a perfect world, every individual would have equal access to opportunities and spaces that warrant and grant fulfillment. I believe that we all have a social responsibility to illuminate the stories, plights, and voices of those often silenced to build a more just world.”
Jegede-Roberts is a senior majoring in english with a minor in rhetoric and public advocacy. During his time at UNCG, he has served as a leader in the Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement’s Catalyst program, where he implemented service programs focused on mentoring, food insecurity, and equity in health care as an opportunity for students to engage with community partners. With a passion for youth mentorship, advancing Black communities, and peer education through service, he facilitated a literary-based curriculum that developed core interpersonal skills in children as a Freedom School Partner servant leader intern (SLI) and served as a youth curriculum development coordinator with the SHIELD Youth Mentor Program. Over the summer, he participated in the NC Black Leadership and Organizing Collective’s Freedom Summer Fellowship to help combat injustice by leading and aspiring youth and his peers.
“I have been extremely impressed with Kalonji’s passion and deep commitment to serving others,” said Katelyn Bodwell, assistant director for civic engagement in the Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement. “As an active member of the UNCG community, Kalonji is a role model for those around him. His dedication to growth and learning about the world is inspiring, and he is intentional at ensuring his involvements on and off campus show this dedication.”
After he graduates next May, Jegede-Roberts looks forward to moving to Dallas, Texas, and working with Teach for America as a corps member where he will continue his work as an educator, improving upon inequitable educational experiences. He will also be pursuing a master’s degree in education policy. His goal is to continue to highlight the lived experiences of historically marginalized groups with the intentions of heightened visibility and positive change.
Story by Alexandra McQueen, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications