CWU News

Two CWU Students Honored with Statewide Civic Leadership Awards

Fin Garcia

Fin Garcia, 2022 President’s Student Civic Leadership Award Recipient

Two Central Washington University seniors have been recognized with the President’s Student Civic Leadership Award through Washington Campus Compact (WACC).

CWU faculty and staff nominated Fin Garcia and Jaeda Nelson for the awards, presented annually by WACC, a statewide coalition of higher education institutions that advances the public purpose of colleges and universities, educates students for civic and social responsibility, and develops partnerships to help build sustainable communities. The awards are presented to student leaders at WACC member campuses for their work in civic engagement and social entrepreneurship.

Garcia also was selected as the runner-up for the Governor’s Student Civic Leadership Award for four-year institutions. They will receive a $500 stipend at the in-person awards presentation on April 15 at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

Garcia is majoring in Music Education with a certificate in Jazz Studies and a minor in Accessibilities Studies. They are involved in PUSH and have supported the planning and implementation of events that enrich the College of Arts and Humanities (CAH) Living Learning Community experience. Garcia also serves as a Senator of Diversity and Equity for CWU’s collegiate branch of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and is a strong advocate and voice for the transgender community in the Music department, creating awareness and providing an open resource for anyone that has questions.

"Being nominated for this award is amazing, and I have always just done my best to support my community when they are in need,” Garcia said. “For example, my freshman year I noticed a need within my major for a more accessible PUSH pantry, and I was able to work alongside PUSH to get one within the McIntyre student lounge. From that moment on, I have been presented many more opportunities to help those in my community. I cannot wait to go on to be an educator who presents the same opportunities for my students.”

Jaeda Nelson

Nelson is a first-generation college student majoring in Business, with a specialization in Leadership and Management. She is passionate about community wellness and cares deeply about arts and culture, human rights, poverty alleviation, and social services. She has been on the Honor Roll for four years and was named to the College of Business Dean’s List in 2021. Nelson also worked for two years at the Diversity and Equity Center, leading the first women of color empowerment program, THRIVE, and is the ASCWU student senator for the Equity and Services Council.

“This nomination is a reminder that my college experience is coming to a close and made me reflect on how much I've grown since starting at Central,” said Nelson, who serves as the president of CWU’s Presidents United to Solve Hunger (PUSH) chapter, an organization that works to combat food insecurity in the campus community. “For anyone involved in community wellness, it can be hard to pause, and may even feel unnatural to celebrate yourself for the impact you're making.”

Media Contact: Dawn Alford, Department of Public Affairs,, 509-963-1484