IMPACT Grows from Civic Engagement Project

IMPACT Grows from Civic Engagement Project

When eight students completed their capstone project in the SESP Civic Engagement Certificate Program two years ago, they wanted the work they had begun to continue and expand. As a result, a new Northwestern student organization called IMPACT was born — and is thriving as a way to serve the Evanston community.

IMPACT started in the spring of 2010 with the goal of bringing the Northwestern, Evanston and Evanston Township High School (ETHS) communities closer together and encouraging growth for each. Five SESP students are on the IMPACT executive board: seniors Jerred Roggensack and Rebecca Swan, juniors Kelli Marks and Jessica Woll and sophomore Danielle Moehrke.  

The primary accomplishment of IMPACT so far has been maintaining the ETHS Emerge sophomore leadership program, developed by Northwestern students Jessica Woll, Kelli Marks, Jerred Roggensack, Rebecca Swan, Esther Wang, Anne Wong, Naadia Owens and Veronica Morales for their capstone project in the Civic Engagement Certificate Program. Working with ETHS staff, they designed and delivered a monthly leadership program for ETHS sophomores, which features sessions  on teaching leadership skills and then applying those skills to a community project.

“This year we also expanded the Emerge program, with the hard work of a capstone project group in the Civic Engagement Program, to allow juniors at ETHS to participate in leading the sophomore workshops as well as facilitating leadership training for other student groups at ETHS,” notes Roggensack. IMPACT also recently led a discussion between Evanston and Northwestern community members about assets and challenges the two communities possess.  

Since IMPACT will be continuing the Emerge sophomore and junior leadership programs at ETHS next year, the organization is seeking Northwestern students willing to commit about three hours a month to help lead workshops and other activities.

“Students should get involved with IMPACT if they have a desire to further connect with the Evanston community and want to see high school kids grow in confidence and leadership. IMPACT’s mission is centered on mutually beneficial growth for all the communities involved, and it helps bridge the gap that often exists between NU students and our local community,” says Roggensack. Students with questions about the organization may e-mail

The SESP Civic Engagement Certificate Program, which is open to all Northwestern students, is a two-year course of study that provides a deeper understanding of the forces shaping communities and the means of effecting positive change. Students may apply to the program during winter quarter.

Continuing an ETHS leadership training program designed by students in the Civic Engagement Certificate Program is a primary focus of the student organization IMPACT.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 5/11/11