Ahrens is one of 273 students from Campus Compact institutions nationwide selected for the honor. Campus Compact is a nonprofit coalition of more than 1,000 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education.
The Newman Civic Fellowship is a one-year experience for community-committed college students that provides a variety of learning and networking opportunities, including a national conference in partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The fellowship also provides fellows with access to exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.
Ahrens, a political science and urban affairs major, is committed to civic involvement and engagement. In high school, the frequent C-SPAN watcher attended his local Exeter Township School Board meetings to advocate for educational causes. As an Eagle Scout, he worked with a local state legislator to organize a public event to educate the community about child sexual abuse.
Ahrens’ efforts have continued at Albright, where he works with the College’s Center for Excellence in Local Government, which assists Berks County municipal leaders in meeting the changing needs of their communities. That experience, said Ahrens, “enabled me to get a look behind the curtain and hear what was really going on around me from the men and women working day to day to provide the services that all Americans take for granted, such as running water and clean streets.”
Ahrens is applying that knowledge to his current position as an appointed member of the Exeter Planning Commission, where he works on land use and development issues. And the former school board meeting attendee is now running for a seat on the Exeter Township School Board.
Of the fellowship, Ahrens said he is “humbled to be chosen alongside of some of the candidates I have read about. Many have extensive volunteer efforts under their belt, whereas I have had some experience serving in government-orientated positions that effect policy. Therefore, I am looking forward to exchanging thoughts and ideas between other fellows so that we can add to each other’s understanding of how change arises.”
Ahrens aspires to work in municipal government, specifically as a township manager. He hopes to one day be elected to the state legislature to work on issues related to education, taxation and pensions.
Ahrens was nominated for the fellowship by Albright President Lex McMillan.
The Newman Civic Fellowship, named for Campus Compact co-founder Frank Newman, is supported by the KPMG Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation.