MMU student part of first-ever Principal Community Scholars Program

Mount Mercy University senior and Enactus student leader Miranda Hammes is one of 20 college students from Iowa and California selected for the first class of the new Principal Community Scholars Program.

This new program from Principal Financial Group of Des Moines, Iowa is designed to encourage student leadership to meet community needs and comes with a $1,000 scholarship after completion. 

Scholars were selected by Principal, Iowa Campus Compact and California Campus Compact after a rigorous review of nominations submitted by faculty or staff from their institutions. Campus Compact is a national coalition of nearly 1,100 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education.

Hammes was chosen because of her direct involvement in #Sandbags2Handbags, a project headed by Mount Mercy’s Enactus team. Enactus is a national community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better more sustainable world.

In response to the area’s September 2016 flood threat, #Sandbags2Handbags aimed to eliminate waste by turning leftover sandbags into reusable handbags. Students developed their own business practices for the recycled products, including paying fair wages to workers, managing profit margins and following business regulations.

“Miranda was the first student to raise her hand and say ‘yes, I want to help with this project’,” said Mount Mercy assistant professor of business and Enactus advisor Nate Klein, who nominated Hammes. “She has led project meetings with community members, created marketing ideas, washed sandbags and been there every step of the way to drive this initiative.”

Through the Principal Community Scholars Program, Hammes will continue to develop and further expand #Sandbags2Handbags as well as support other community efforts.

“We were impressed by the caliber of the community projects students will be taking on as a part of this scholarship,” said Iowa Campus Compact Executive Director Emily Shields. “It is clear they have deep commitment to their communities and we can’t wait to see what they accomplish.”

Selected students will come together virtually on January 24, for a retreat designed to introduce key concepts related to community engagement and service. They will connect with each other and learn about the work being done by Principal and Campus Compact.

You can purchase Sandbags2Handbags online.

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