Around a hundred students representing various campus organizations were honored in the 28th annual Leadership and Activities Awards ceremony recognizing the achievements of individuals and student organizations in the Student Resources Building yesterday afternoon.
The Leadership and Activities Awards are conferred every year to students from registered student groups by a committee of 12 university students and staff. Each award is honorary and presented in individual and group categories with nominations accepted from the general public and with winners receiving certificates, plaques or a banner.
Executive Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Michael D. Young opened the ceremony with a brief statement commending the nominees and awardees for their work with their respective organizations.
“Students and colleagues like those on here tonight, the nominees and award recipients make my work and the work of my colleagues in Student Affairs across the campus truly worthwhile,” Young said.
The ceremony began with the presentation of individual co-curricular activity awards honoring individual undergraduates and graduates for their contributions to the quality of campus life in various organizations. Third-year biopsychology major and Interfraternity Council President Carl Provenzano was among those honored in the junior category and said he feels lucky to attend an “amazing university.”
“I feel honored and proud to be a part of an amazing university, surrounded by such a bright, charismatic and beautiful student body,” Provenzano said in an email. “[The award] was an honor to receive. I won the same award as a sophomore, so it feels good to be a leader and hopefully I influence others to take advantage of all the great opportunities this campus offers.”
Awards were also presented to whole organizations in various categories including community service, “anti-bias” programs, most improved organization, residential programming, most creative organization, late night programming, sustainability, progressive use of technology, group achievement and CommUnity grant awards.
Other awards were presented to faculty and staff in the categories of outstanding organization advisor award and outstanding organization advisor “era achievement” award, which went to Mayra Alcala for her work with Lamda Sigma Gamma sorority and John Lee of the Student Veterans Organization, respectively.
The final award of the ceremony was the Organization of the Year Award which went to the Health Professions Association and was received by the vice president, second-year biology major Amir Soltani, who said the HPA aims to address the various needs of pre-health students that go unmet on campus.
According to Soltani, pre-health students lack informational outlets to adequately prepare students for health professional schools. She also said there is a lack of unity and of clinical experience opportunities for pre-health students.
“It was all the result of … thinking big and not being constrained by what’s available at the moment or what everyone else is doing right now,” Soltani said. “We want to be innovators and we want to set the path and ultimately, as I like to say, revolutionize the pre-health experience.”