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Former PBSC student wins Florida Campus Compact award

Carl Amritt, a former Palm Beach State College student, has won a statewide award for his work advocating for the restoration of voting rights for the more than 1.5 million Floridians with a past felony conviction.

He will be presented the Florida Campus Compact Student Excellence in Service Award at the organization’s Awards Gala in Tampa Nov. 17 where students, faculty,  institutes of higher education and legislators will be honored. Amritt is among three students who will receive a Student Excellence in Service Award, but the only one from the Florida College System.  A winner also was chosen from the State University System and the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida.CarlAmritt-450

Michael Norris, director of campus engagement for Florida Campus Compact,  a coalition of over 50 colleges and universities committed to promoting community service, service learning and civic engagement, said all award applications were sent to reviewers outside of the state. “It is a pretty competitive process,’’ he said.

Amritt, a 2013 Dreyfoos School of the Arts  graduate, was a student at Bard College in New York working on a senior project related to voting rights when he returned home for personal reasons at the end of the semester last December. He enrolled at Palm Beach State full time for the 2016 spring and summer terms. However, he continued his work on voting rights. He got involved in Floridians For a Fair Democracy, a statewide coalition of private and public organizations that are working to propose a constitutional ballot amendment to restore the voting rights of Floridians with a past felony conviction. He has helped coordinate petition drives, town hall meetings and public forums across 12 colleges and universities. Concurrently, he was completing a summer fellowship at the Roosevelt Institute, a New York think tank that focuses on rewriting rules, policies and laws so that they are more equitable for every citizen.

“I’m extremely honored to receive such an award. It’s a privilege to be recognized for my work. I did not do it for the awards and accolade,’’ he said. “I’m doing my work because I care about the issues. Everyone deserve the right to be heard at the polls. Service learning has allowed me to further my understanding of voting rights in a real and practical way by working with former felons and elected officials.”

Aside from his work to restore voter rights, Amritt served as an intern this past summer for U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel and a special projects intern in summer 2015 for the city of West Palm Beach.  While in high school, he served as a youth liaison for the Palm Beach County League of Cities from 2011-2013 as well as other initiatives.

Instead of returning to Bard, he plans to transfer to American University in the spring to complete his bachelor’s degree in political science and economics and a master’s in public administration.

 

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3 comments on “Former PBSC student wins Florida Campus Compact award”

  1. Awesome achievement! Recently I learned that there are numerous non-violent felons that committed their felonious act while juveniles (adjudicated as adults) and are not allowed to enter many colleges and universities. My belief is that a juvenile that makes an immature life choice, then serves the time should be allowed to be rehabilitated and educated. Knowing the importance of an education I have decided to advocate for them. Any guidance from Mr. Amritt would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Dear Susan,
      Thank you for your kind wishes and your astute comment. I’ll answer your question in three parts— 1) Visit the program website to sign a petition to restore the right to vote to millions of Floridians. By signing a petition, you are sending a message to your elected officials that you care about protecting the right to vote and believe everyone deserves a second chance. 2) Sign-up to volunteer in a prison education program by either tutoring or mentoring a convict. Reports have shown that educating inmates have reduced the rate recidivism by over 40 percent. In addition to positive mentorship and guidance, we can easily rehabilitate and reintegrate convicts back into society. 3) Get out to vote for candidates for office that are committed to reforming policing and sentencing practices that disproportionately impact certain communities. Studies have concluded that changes in sentencing policies and not the rate of which felonious act have been committed has contributed to the mass disenfranchisement of voters. Furthermore, we need to end the cradle-to-prison pipeline and support programs such as the Second Chance Pell Pilot, which would provide federal financial aid to incarcerated adults.

      I would be happy to speak with you more in-depth about my work or any of the points outlined above. Please feel free to reach out.

  2. Congratulations!!! well done
    I hope you bring light into our future government-good luck
    Rosa (PBSC Adjunct)

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