Claremont, Calif. (April 28, 2016)—Pitzer College student Roberto Cabrales ’20 has been selected as a 2016 Newman Civic Fellow. An initiative of Campus Compact, the Newman Civic Fellows Award honors college students who are dedicated to finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country.
Before coming to Pitzer as a New Resources student in fall 2012, Cabrales served as a community organizer with Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) for more than a decade. At CBE, he worked on legislation to bring more electric vehicle incentives to low-income communities in LA. In addition to his ongoing environmental work, Cabrales recently joined the organizing team at Inner City Law Center in downtown LA’s Skid Row to help improve quality of life for one of the city’s most vulnerable populations.
Cabrales also spent a decade working with Southeast Los Angeles residents to shut down the Exide Technologies battery recycling plant in Vernon, CA, that exposed residents to toxic levels of lead. The plant was shut down in 2015; in February, California Governor Jerry Brown announced a $176.6 million plan to test and cleanup contaminated homes in the area.
Cabrales began community organizing when he was still in high school. In a personal statement for the Newman Civic Fellowship, he said all his efforts stem from his desire to “improve the quality of life for all, especially communities on the frontlines of environmental impacts.”
Pitzer Interim President Thomas Poon said Cabrales’ dedication to community organizing around environmental concerns “has grown into a deep commitment toward the liberation of low-income communities and communities of color.”
“Pitzer College is grateful for the deep contributions and responsible reflection Roberto has offered to the institution and the individuals within it,” Poon said.
Campus Compact is a national coalition of nearly 1,100 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. The Newman Civic Fellows Awards, sponsored by the KPMG Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation, recognize college students who have demonstrated their commitment to better understanding themselves, the root causes of social issues and effective mechanisms for creating lasting change. These students serve as national examples of the role that higher education can—and does—play in building a better world.