2018 Commission Award

Andres Mejia and Jhenniffer Marcal
Andres Mejia and Jhenneffer Marcal

Jhenneffer Marcal - 2018 Student Award recipient of the President’s Commission on the Status of People of Color

Jhenneffer Marcal has worked to help make UNH a better community.

Her work includes serving on Black Student Union, MOSAICO (the Latinx student association), Hillel (the Jewish student association), the Native American Cultural Association, and the United Asian Coalition. She’s one of the founders of Queer, Trans People of Color support group. In addition, Jhenneffer served as the co-Executive Director of the Diversity Support Coalition where she helped coordinate the six cornerstone UNH diversity organizations.

In the Connect Program, Jhenneffer began as a mentor and was quickly promoted to the status of Team Leader. With her maturity and knowledge, she was a standout in skills at designing improvements to the Program, creating recruitment tools through video and PowerPoint presentations and implementing new programs to make sure students of color and students who identify as low-income feel welcomed.

She has influenced her peers by co-facilitating OMSA Say What and Real Talk, deep-diving discussions on major issues on campus and in the nation. To give you an idea of the depth of these talks, here are some topics:    “White privilege vs. White supremacy”, “Racism and Colorism within the LGBTQ+ community”, “Black Lives Matter”, “Ferguson”, “Black and Latinx Feminism” and critiques of white, mainstream feminism. She invited responses to probing questions. It was impressive how she applied techniques that opened students to broaden their comfort zones and examine the issues in depth.

In her service on the President’s Commission, she has been an advocate for student needs in immediate issues of racial bias - as well as presenting on long-term, systemic challenges. She’s been a strong advocate of more anti-oppression training and student retention programs.

Her nominators were particularly impressed that Jhenneffer was invited to sit on the President’s Diversity/Climate Task Force commissioned to explore and address climate and bias issues on campus and has also served with distinction as a Student Coordinator at the annual MLK Summit since 2015 – helping engage with students who have needed emotional support, or helping to unpack issues surrounding social identities and oppression.

Jhenneffer has also volunteered with the UNH Admissions Department to sit on student recruitment panels and to make phone calls, and encourage under-represented high school students to consider making UNH their educational home.

Jhenneffer Marcal exemplifies the concepts of leadership and community change-making.