Robert Fensom ’22

*Since the publication of the profile, Robert Fensom '22 received the William A. Bryan Senior Leader Award, presented annually to one member of the graduating senior class for distinguishing themselves for their integrity, creativity, academic success, commitment to service and lasting impact on the university, among other distinctions.

October 19, 2021

For Student Government Association president Robert Fensom ’22, seeing the move-in process of incoming freshmen is a powerful reminder of his own beginnings at UNCW. A senior planning to graduate in spring 2022, Fensom reflects on how his experience has come full circle since he first moved in. 

“My time as an undergraduate at UNCW is ending,” said Fensom. “But there is no better feeling than seeing the next generation of students begin their own journeys here. I am thrilled to be able to play even a small part in the memories that they will make.” 

During his freshman year, Fensom overcame the challenges of 2018’s Hurricane Florence through community cleanup. He repaired houses with other volunteers in his hometown of Fayetteville, cleaned yards and met another UNCW student during his volunteer work. 

“She and I ended up being close friends,” said Fensom. “During a time when we were all uncertain of when we could return to campus, being around other community volunteers and another Seahawk made the wait better.” 

Fensom’s care for others has been repaid in kind. During a trip to the library to finish some homework, he dropped his wallet, which contained IDs, his One Card and his credit cards. However, when he arrived at the library and checked his email, a stranger informed him that she found his wallet. 

“She mentioned that she had found my wallet by Osprey Hall and wanted to know where we could meet up,” said Fensom. “Minutes later we met outside the Fishers, and she returned my wallet. That moment of kindness has always stuck with me.” 

Fensom’s affiliation with the Student Government Association began with his interest in becoming more involved on campus. While he joined the Triathlon Club and worked at the Student Recreation Center, he received encouragement from his UNI professor—who was also an SGA advisor—to consider joining the SGA. He spent several years as a senator, chief of academic affairs and chief of staff, prior to becoming SGA president. 

“My choice to join SGA was born out of a desire to be more connected to the university,” Fensom said. “Each year that I have been involved, I have grown as a person and been able to make a more significant difference for the campus.” 

Fensom’s leadership had its foundations in learning from other team leaders in the SGA. One of his earliest role models was Vice President Thomas Wilson, whose mentorship motivated Fensom to run for president. 

“Being the SGA president has been one of the greatest opportunities of my life,” Fensom said. “Every day I get to work alongside a team of other highly motivated students as we advocate on behalf of our peers. In that process, I have had the pleasure of getting to know hundreds of other students.” 

Alumni and professors have also paved a path for Fensom’s success by supporting him during his academic career. Rachel Kawadlo ’20, encouraged Fensom to be involved on campus, and professors Don Habibi and George Felis in the Department of Philosophy and Religion supported his academic interests as well.  

“I would not be half the individual I am without the mentorship of these individuals and others,” said Fensom. “UNCW is a community that spurs each other on towards success.” 

-- Diego Berrocal ’22