Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The University of New Orleans celebrates top student leaders from more than 140 student organizations on campus

The University of New Orleans honored student leaders this month at the University’s 31st Annual Leadership Recognition Ceremony.

The evening was designed “to honor extraordinary student leaders at UNO – those who have dedicated their time and energy to improve the quality of campus life,” said Marco Dorsey, a member of the UNO Leadership Cabinet and an emcee of the event.

The ceremony, held in the University Center ballroom, allowed more than 200 people in attendance to look back at the past year of student involvement at UNO and pay tribute to students who have become exceptional leaders within organizations, departments, and throughout the community. More than 140 student leaders from various organizations and departments were recognized and a handful of student leaders received the University’s highest student involvement and leadership awards.

On hand to sing the National Anthem were students Christina Early, Alyssa Moore and Stephanie Moore-Kreamer. David Teagle, president of Student Government, gave the opening address. The night also brought a special video presentation created by student leader Jordan Fontenot.

“There is no way that we can capture all of the organizations, let alone everything that the organizations have done; however, this is the chance for us to look back and reflect on this year’s accomplishments,” said Kandice Braud, Vice President of Leadership Retreat Leadership Cabinet member and an emcee for the event. “Let’s have some fun with this. Give a shout out any time you see yourself or your friends.

Edgar E. Burks Award

The Edgar E. Burks Award is the leadership award presented by Student Affairs. Students are nominated for this prestigious award by faculty and administration. A selection committee then reviews all nominations based on leadership ability, contribution to the campus and the community, the quality of the nomination letters, and GPA. The committee members expressed their difficulty in selecting the recipient of this year’s Burks Award because of the quality of the student leaders who were nominated.

This year’s 2015 Burks Award nominees include: Bridgette Blunt, Kennedy Broussard, Adam Grafola, and Whitney Marshall.

The winner of the 2014-2015 Burks Award is Whitney Alexandra Marshall.

Ambassador Scholarship

The UNO Ambassador Swampball Scholarship is made possible through funds raised twice a year by the UNO Ambassadors at Swampball, a signature event at UNO and cut-throat volleyball competition in which players perform knee-deep in the mud.

Recipients of scholarships this year include: Stephen Juliff, Sara Salama and Nora Bloemer.

Dr. Polly Guthrie Service Award

The Dr. Polly Guthrie Community Service Award sponsored by the League of Women Voters of New Orleansrecognizes a student leader who has demonstrated outstanding volunteerism in the community. Students who were nominated for this award this year include: Alyssa Aleman, Travis Avery, Joy Ballard, Elizabeth Michelle Butcher, Derreck Blake Deason, Eric Gremillion, Adrianna Lochner, Elizabeth O'Malley, and Meagan Riche.

Francine Guigno, president of the League of Women Voters of New Orleans, was on hand to present the winner of this elite award with a $1,000 scholarship.

“This recipient of the Dr. Polly Guthrie Service Award exemplifies a deep commitment to service, shown through both their volunteer work with the community and their everyday actions around campus,” said Brett Kemker, vice president of student affairs. “This year’s winner shows such a commitment to the community, and especially to New Orleans’ young students and Women, while balancing the responsibilities that come with being a UNO student.

“After Hurricane Katrina, they spent a year and a half tutoring students at a local elementary school. Afterwards, they helped to open and work in an emergency shelter for women,” the vice president said. “Due to this person’s hard work, fundraising efforts, and creativity, the temporary women’s shelter moved to a new, 24-hour home for both women and their children.”

This year’s Dr. Polly Guthrie Service Award went to Eric Gremillion.

Outstanding Event of the Year

“This award was established to recognize the most defining event of the past year and to highlight organizations which have helped create a higher standard for student life at our university,” Kemker said.

This year, 13 student organizations were nominated for the award. The University honoed outstanding events in two categories; university sanctioned and registered student organization. The winner of the Registered Student Organization Event of the Year is The Martyrdom of Gaza and the Future of Palestine by Students for Justice in Palestine.

The recipient of the university sanctioned Event of the Year required many months of planning, fundraising, and effort. Every year this event brings together UNO students, faculty, and the New Orleans community as a whole to celebrate one night of exhibitions, performances, fashion shows, and food. This event celebrates the many different cultures that make UNO the unique and diverse university that it is. The award for the Department Funded Event of the Year goes to International Night by International Student Organization.

Organization President Award

The Organization President of the Year Award was created at the request of student leaders, with the purpose of recognizing an organization president’s outstanding service. The recipient of the award for President of the Year is Jahi Mackey of the Global Mentor Program Advisor of the Year.

Advisors play an essential role in the success of our student organizations. They serve as mentors, team builders, conflict mediators, reflective agents, motivators and educators. These advisors continually support us and challenge us to grow. The UNO Advisor of the Year award goes to Michael Hoffshire of Unity.

Organization of the Year

At UNO, students have several opportunities to reflect their interests with over 140 organizations to choose from. These organizations range from professional, social, diversity-oriented, political, honorary, service, activist and special interests; and each one helps to enhance the spirit and community here at UNO.

Awards for the UNO Organization of the year will be separated into two categories, those who are University Sanctioned and Registered Student Organizations. Both these types of organizations exemplify the community spirit of UNO and enrich the lives of every student on campus.

This year’s University Sanctioned Organization of the year is the Student Activities Council.

The recipient of the award for the Registered Student Organization of the Year serves both the UNO and the New Orleans community. The award for the Registered Student Organization of the Year goes to the National Society of Black Engineers.

“As graduation swiftly approaches the Spring Class of 2015, we thank you for your hard work and dedication that you have contributed to our great university,” Kemker said to all the student leaders present. “As you take that walk across the stage, we want you to remember the great times that you have had at UNO and what a difference you made at your alma mater though your campus involvement. To those who will be returning, we hope you keep the same encouraged spirit and remain involved. Have a beautiful summer and stay focused.”