Simpson Student Chosen for National Civic Award

You’ll have to forgive Dustin Peters if he doesn’t have time to stop and accept congratulations for being one of four Iowa college students honored as a Newman Civic Fellow.

He’s probably too busy.

In the past week, for example, the 19-year-old Simpson College sophomore from rural Milford helped organize two fund-raising projects on campus.

It’s that sort of volunteer work that earned Peters a spot in the 2012 class of Newman Civic Fellows. He was chosen by the Iowa Campus Compact, a statewide association of college and university presidents.

Newman Fellows are selected for demonstrating a personal commitment to creating lasting change in their communities.

That describes Peters.

“I just have this knack for wanting to do things,” he said. “It’s something I enjoy. Putting on different events and having them be successful is a great feeling. It’s very rewarding.”

A political science and philosophy major, Peters is president of Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity; master of philanthropy and public relations for Kappa Theta Psi, a social fraternity; vice president of records for the Interfraternity Council; and he also is a John C. Culver Public Policy Fellow.

When does he have time for class?

He laughed. “It’s definitely taxing,” he said. “After awhile you get run down. But if you manage your time wisely, it’s easy to do. You just have to be committed and know how to arrange your time.”

Last Friday, Peters helped organize a pie-throwing event to raise money for literacy. During the weekend he was the head organizer for a three-on-three charity basketball tournament that he and another Simpson student began last year.

“Through his involvement in Kappa Theta Psi and Alpha Phi Omega, Dustin has helped organized a charity basketball tournament, a shoe and clothing drive for families in Africa, two blood drives, and adopted a street for cleaning,” said Stephanie Neve, Simpson’s service coordinator and assistant chaplain. “He has helped to make both of these organizations known on campus for their service.”

Peters joined three other Iowa college students were named Newman Civic Fellows. They are among 162 college and university students from 32 states who were nominated nationwide.

“These students represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders,” said James B. Dworkin, chancellor at Purdue University North Central and chairman of the Campus Compact Board. “They serve as national examples of the role that higher education can – and does – play in building a better world.”

Simpson College prides itself on promoting service. Newsweek magazine ranked Simpson as one of the nation’s top 25 service-minded colleges.

“A lot of my friends who go to different colleges don’t have this kind of service ideology ingrained within their college,” Peters said. “Here, it’s so apparent. We have an entire day off from school devoted to work on service opportunities.”

He referred to Campus Day, a Simpson tradition that dates to 1889, in which everyone is encouraged to participate in service projects not only on campus, but also around the community of Indianola. This year’s Campus Day will be held on April 4.

For Peters, that day won’t be much different than any other day. He’ll be busy.

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