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.
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.