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Warren Wilson College senior honored for community impact

Odgers named one of 25 winners for service by statewide coalition

Warren Wilson College senior Emily Odgers receives the 2016 Community Impact Award from Leslie Garvin, executive director of North Carolina Campus Compact.

Warren Wilson College senior Emily Odgers receives the 2016 Community Impact Award from Leslie Garvin, executive director of North Carolina Campus Compact. Photo by Peter Lorenz.

As Emily Odgers wraps up her career at Warren Wilson College, she is being recognized for her efforts to improve communities. Calling her work “outstanding,” the North Carolina Campus Compactpresented the senior sociology and anthropology major with one of 25 Community Impact Awards. The North Carolina Campus Compact is a statewide coalition of 36 public, private and community colleges and universities that share a commitment to civic and community engagement.

“Emily Odgers is deeply committed to engaging in the community and to working for social change,” said Shuli Archer, Warren Wilson College’s director of Bonner leadership initiatives. “Emily balances a schedule chock-full of commitments, juggling a full course load and multiple jobs, but she still prioritizes engaging in the community and modeling to other students how to balance their time. I have had the privilege to work with Emily for three years now and can think of no one more deserving of this award.”

Since arriving at Warren Wilson College, Odgers clocked nearly 1,000 combined hours of service in five different states. Among her accomplishments are the trips she led to address housing and community development in West Virginia and Georgia. She took part in two service-related internships, multiple service-learning courses, and additional trips to cities like Baltimore. Mentoring youth through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina is another priority for Odgers. She currently coordinates a weekly trip to one of the organization’s sites through the College’s Center for Community Engagement (CCE).

“Warren Wilson’s community engagement program was a deciding factor in my ultimate decision to attend this school,” says Odgers, who is from Northampton, Massachusetts. “It wasn’t that we just had a service program, but rather the intentionality behind it. At the CCE, we stress that students consider their own identity, experiences and privilege when they work with the community. We do not assume that we understand a community’s strengths and issues better than they do. We enter into partnerships with organizations and groups that are based on mutual goals, rather than individual motivations.”

Odgers now counts herself among more than 200 college students recognized by the network since the award was first presented in 2006, according to a release from the North Carolina Campus Compact. Along with her fellow honorees, she received her award in November at the Compact’s annual student conference. Each member campus selects their Community Impact Award recipient.

“I am very honored to receive this award from Warren Wilson’s recommendation. It reflects more than a time commitment, but rather a dedication to foster relationships, to learn and engage with others and to be willing to give up preconceived notions on what the best service is,” Odgers said.

For more information about community engagement at Warren Wilson College, visit