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Two sophomores will represent Beacon College in the 2016-17 academic year as legislative advocates for the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF).

Sarah Willingham
Sarah Willingham

Sarah Willingham and Joshua Waldrop, who both are pursuing Bachelor of Science degrees in anthrozoology, will serve as ICUF Presidential Fellows.

“Sarah Willingham is a creative, sweet, and kind student who is always willing to help others,” says Shelly Chandler, provost at Beacon College, the first higher education institution accredited to award bachelor’s degrees primarily to students with learning disabilities, ADHD and other learning differences. “Joshua Waldrop is a hard-working student who is very innovative as he continually thinks outside the box.”

The ICUF Presidential Fellows Program provides student-led advocacy for independent higher education. The program also provides s a compelling voice in support of aspiring Florida collegians that benefit from the William L. Boyd, IV, Florida Resident Access Grant (FRAG) Program. FRAG helps defray tuition for state undergraduate students who attend eligible private, non-profit

Joshua Clinton Waldrop
Joshua Clinton Waldrop

Florida colleges or universities. The fellows program is a major advocacy plank for the 30 members of ICUF — including Beacon College — that award 25 percent of Florida’s bachelor degrees and 33 percent of all degrees.

The Presidential Fellows Program — launched in the 2004-05 academic year — formally built on the momentum created more than a decade ago by student leaders from Flagler College, Stetson University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and other institutions who collaborated to energize student engagement in Tallahassee.

Today, each ICUF school selects two student fellows. ICUF fellows are sophomores, juniors and seniors who lobby legislators through writing campaigns, launch creative campus-based advocacy campaigns and in the spring travel to Tallahassee for face-to-face advocacy visits with legislators.

Chandler said that the service Willingham and Waldrop will provide not only is beneficial to building their leadership skills, but also benefits Beacon College corporately.

“Being an ICUF fellow gets the message to the Legislature that our students are deserving of money for higher education,” she said. “Like students from traditional institutions of higher education, the students of Beacon College have bright futures ahead of them.”