Bates student one of three to win Campus Compact award

Senior Trung Trong Huynh of Portland is one of three students named to receive the Maine Campus Compact’s 2002 Student Heart and Soul Award for outstanding contributions in community service and service-learning.

Maine Campus Compact is a statewide coalition of college and university presidents established to encourage and enhance campus involvement in the community. The Student Heart and Soul Award is presented annually to three undergraduates in Maine who have exhibited a depth and breadth of service experience, achieved significant results and been willing to lead and innovate in such work.

This year’s other recipients are Jann Jackson, a New Sweden resident and a senior at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, and Eric Staples, a South Portland resident attending Southern Maine Technical College. This year’s awards will be presented during a daylong celebration of service-learning at the Maine State House Hall of Flags on Feb. 28.

Huynh’s family came to Portland from Vietnam in 1989, moving into Riverton Park, a city-run housing project. For him, the academic and language support provided by the Portland Education Center at Riverton served as a bridge to the city school system.

“I know how important volunteers are,” Huynh told an interviewer in 2001. “My tutors answered all my homework questions, but they also shed light on college and introduced me to thinking about my future.”

When Huynh came to Bates, he organized a tutoring program at the Center, recruiting 19 Bates students to make the 70-mile round trip to teach immigrants from such countries as Sudan, Somalia, Cambodia, China and Ethiopia. Under the auspices of the Portland Housing Authority, but with Huynh managing all aspects of the program, the Portland-Lewiston Tutoring Program is now in its fourth year and involves 45 volunteers.

In 1999 and 2001, Huynh won Arthur Crafts Service Awards from the Bates Center for Service-Learning to sustain the program. Huynh’s efforts also led to his nomination for the national Campus Compact Howard R. Swearer Student Humanitarian Award.

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