Women and Gender Studies Program

WGS Major Cole Leighton awarded the 2011 Student Heart and Soul Award

USM senior Cole Leighton was awarded the 2011 Maine Campus Compact Student Heart and Soul Award for his outstanding service on and off campus.

Leighton, sociology major and Women and Gender Studies minor, plans to graduate from USM this spring. He hopes to work with college students in a campus setting before applying to graduate school for public policy.

Over the past year, Cole has worked with the Campus Safety Project as an Americorps Service member. He assisted in developing the programs and provided prevention education through workshops and public events. He is also the founder of Men Creating Change, a group for male-identified students dedicated to preventing and reducing violence. “Getting other men across campus involved in interpersonal violence prevention has proved to be my most challenging project, but, in many ways, the most rewarding as well,” Leighton said.

His other projects include volunteering with the Center for Sexualities and Gender Diversity, working as a resident assistant in Gorham, organizing the Safe Zone Project Orientation and the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance event in 2007. Leighton says that getting involved is the best way to make friends on campus. “It helps you feel like you are part of a community.”

Each year, Maine Campus Compact recognizes up to six college students for exemplary civic engagement and outstanding work in campus-community partnerships in service of a community-identified need.

“By being an active member in more than just the classroom, I have formed relationships with people I would not have otherwise met, both students and staff members,” Leighton said. “I am truly honored to have received this award, but I also know there are a lot of other people doing great work to improve our campus and I would like to recognize them as well.”