Coalition Names Pachano, Northern Essex Community College Student Trustee, Newman Civic Fellow

Student Trustee Sarah Pachano with U.S. Congresswoman Lori Trahan. (Courtesy photograph.)

Northern Essex Community College Student Trustee Sarah Pachano has been named as a Newman Civic Fellow by the Campus Compact, a national coalition of colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education.

Pachano, a philosophy major from Lawrence, was chosen for her role as a campus leader with a focus on equity and justice. She is also a member of the Student Government Association and a first-generation college student. She emigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic with her mother and grandmother when she was 18 and taught herself English in just six months.

Pachano enrolled at Northern Essex in 2016 and started working toward her engineering science degree. When the pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, however, she says she took the time to reflect and realized she wished to take a different path. She changed her major to philosophy and joined the Student Government Association in the spring of 2022 and was then elected as the student representative to the college board of trustees that fall.

“It has been my priority to help my fellow students feel comfortable and provide a safe space while on campus,” she says. “I have strived to tackle the issues of which students are most concerned, including campus transportation and making the school more LGBTQAI+ friendly. In addition, I’m confronting the unconscious bias of faculty and staff. I believe this is especially important for a minority-serving institution. My desire to represent not only my community but every student on campus has just begun. My life mission is to try to improve the lives of the people that surround me.”

Pachano recently advocated for students and student support services in Washington, D.C. She met with Massachusetts congressional representatives and their staff during the American Association of Community Colleges Legislative Summit. She shared her story as an example of what can be achieved when students like her are supported through various programs and funding.

In nominating Pachano for the fellowship, Northern Essex President Lane A. Glenn wrote, “Sarah is an empathetic, passionate, and equity-focused student leader at Northern Essex Community College. Sarah’s journey has not been an easy one. The experiences of her life inform her social activism and determination to make a positive change in the world…Sarah Pachano exemplifies what it means to be living purposefully. She is a persistent and enthusiastic advocate for her fellow students.”

The Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes and supports community-committed students who are change-makers and public problem-solvers at Campus Compact member institutions. The year-long program, named for Campus Compact founder Frank Newman, includes virtual learning opportunities and networking as part of a national network of engaged student leaders and an optional in-person convening

Northern Essex Community College, the first Federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution in New England, is an education leader for the Merrimack Valley.

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