Varanasi is a community affairs liaison for New York State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, who went to the same New York high school as Varanasi. In May 2018, Varanasi began volunteering on Biaggi’s State Senate campaign, when Biaggi’s campaign headquarters were in her parents’ basement.
“I instantly fell in love with the fast-paced environment of campaigning, and to the many ways that I could connect with new people and communities,” Varanasi said. “Much like many who believe in grassroots organizing, I see these connections and opportunities to push one’s own boundaries as central to addressing the root causes of social issues.”
Varanasi was chosen as one of the speakers at Biaggi’s inauguration in the Bronx in 2019, and has continued to work toward long-term social change in her academic and extracurricular activities.
The Newman Civic Fellowship is a yearlong program for students from Campus Compact member institutions. The students selected for the fellowship are leaders on their campuses who demonstrate a commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities locally, nationally, and internationally.
Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides the students with a variety of learning and networking opportunities that emphasize personal, professional, and civic growth. Each year, Fellows are invited to a national, in-person conference of Newman Civic Fellows and participate in numerous virtual training and networking opportunities. The fellowship also provides fellows with pathways to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.
The fellowship is named for the late Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders, who was a tireless advocate for civic engagement in higher education. In the spirit of Dr. Newman’s leadership, all Campus Compact member presidents and chancellors may nominate one student from their institution for the fellowship.