Alexandra Vecchio (middle) with her parents at the Lincoln Academy Student Laureate awards ceremony in November.

Alexandra Vecchio, Loyola’s selection as this year’s Lincoln Academy Student Laureate for the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, was recognized for her achievements back in November in Springfield, Illinois, at a ceremony to honor all of the student laureates.

Vecchio was among 52 students, each selected from a college or university around the state of Illinois, to receive this distinguished honor. She represented Loyola and was recognized for her excellence in curricular and extra-curricular activities at Loyola. With the honor, the Lincoln Academy seeks to find Illinois students that excel both inside and outside the classroom and hold a leadership role around their campus. The academy recognizes these students as bringing honor to the state of Illinois, similar to Abraham Lincoln and his effective leadership.

“I mean honestly, it’s spectacular, and I feel honored to receive this recognition,” says Vecchio. “To know I have made an impact on other students’ lives is certainly humbling, but it has been a really amazing experience.”

Vecchio is a senior environmental studies and sociology major, and she serves as the co-president of the Student Environmental Alliance, the vice president for Loyola’s Habitat for Humanity chapter, the chief sustainability officer for the Unified Student Government Association, and the learning community sustainability coordinator, among other things. With nothing less than a plate full of leadership roles in organizations around campus, Vecchio has used these opportunities to find her passion for the environment and she became a key player in the educational campaign that eventually led to Loyola’s water bottle ban on campus.

“UnCap LUC started my sophomore year, and it instantly became a passion of mine,” Vecchio explains. “I really did care about it as it became a huge part of my Loyola experience; a learning opportunity that sparked an interest area that I didn’t even know existed.”

When she’s not doing service work outside of the classroom or raising awareness about homelessness in Chicago, you can find her at the Loyola Farmers Market or working to better the Loyola recycling program as she seeks to develop her leadership skills and participate in real work experiences that further environmental projects.

“Everything I’m involved in somehow works together,” says Vecchio. “It overlaps, and I love it.”

Her commitment to Loyola and the environment also led her to an opportunity to talk with United States Congressman Mike Quigley back in September about social justice, sustainability, and the political direction our nation is headed. Following that conversation, she was invited to visit Washington DC with a few others from Loyola to meet with agencies about environmental issues.

After graduation, Vecchio is looking to do a year of service and then attend graduate school where she will pursue a master’s degree. Through working with Loyola, mentors, and the Office of Sustainability, she thinks working in higher education, with a focus on sustainability, is something that she would love to end up doing down the road.

Loyola certainly feels Vecchio is a deserving candidate for the Lincoln recognition and honors she has received and we congratulate her on being named a Lincoln Academy Student Laureate.

“I feel so honored, and I owe a big thank you to Loyola for giving me the opportunities that I’ve been given,” concludes Vecchio. “My time at Loyola has been phenomenal, and I owe so much to this University.”

For more information about the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, click here.