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Speaking Up as a Student Leader

“Josh stepped into leadership roles from the first moment he arrived on campus,” wrote Wartburg College President Darrel Colson in successfully nominating Joshua Voigt (South Africa, Waterford Kamhlaba UWC, Wartburg ’20) to be a 2019-20 Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellow.

As student body president during his junior year, Josh “continued to facilitate dialogue and discussion on inclusion, race and diversity,” Colson wrote. “He identifies systemic challenges that make students’ lives more difficult, then he sets about to overcome them.”

“I have stepped down from a lot of the formal leadership positions I held last year,” Josh says, “but I’m still advocating, doing behind-the-scenes work, talking to people.” He has been especially active in advocating for ways to increase the representation of the college’s large community of international students, and to ease the challenges they often face.

“I’ve given talks to professors, I’ve advocated in front of the president and the Board of Regents of the college,” he says. “I felt it was my responsibility, as someone who is outspoken and passionate and driven, to try and solve some of these problems. I do have a very big voice, and I like to use it for the right reasons.”

“There’s no doubt in my mind that if I had not gone to UWC, I would not have been prepared to take on the challenges I’ve taken on here,” Josh reflects. That centers, he notes, on “standing firmly for what we believe in, and spreading ideas of acceptance and a peaceful global society.”