Each spring, the Office of the Dean of Students and the Rochester Center for Community Leadership recognize undergraduate students and organizations that have made significant contributions to campus life. Nominated by faculty, staff, and peers, Student Life Award recipients represent diverse interests, talents, and accomplishments but are united in their strength in leadership, fervor for engagement in campus life, and their aim to be a positive influence on peers, all of which help the campus community become ever better.
This year, the awards, also referred to as the “The Rockys,” went to 18 undergraduates and 4 student organizations. “I think the winners represent a large demographic that follows their passions and gives back to others in all sorts of ways,” said Ed Feldman, associate director of leadership programs at the Rochester Center for Community Leadership and chair of the selection committee. “With over 200 organizations on campus, students have the resources and capacity to be part of something bigger than just themselves,” he added. Feldman believes that the leadership opportunities on campus provide students with a means to create and promote positive social change in the immediate community and beyond.
Friends, family, and colleagues of the honorees were invited to an intimate awards reception, which also was attended by University administrators and campus leaders. All the winning students and organizations received engraved glass trophies and certificates.
Active Minds was honored as this year’s Outstanding Student Organization. For co-president Hayley Harnicher ’15, the most rewarding experience has been being able to watch Active Minds grow as a presence on campus through the expansion of its programming. “Although we have done a lot, we cannot wait to continue the momentum we’ve gained to continue bringing impactful programming to our community; just as an example, this Wednesday, April 22nd, we will have our final event of the semester – the Garden of Hope,” said Harnicher.
This upcoming event will display 1,100 yellow pinwheels to represent the 1,100 college students who die by suicide every year. Active Minds hopes that this will empower students to start conversations and break the silence in order to further mitigate rates of suicide on college campuses.
Madeline Freeman ‘15 received this year’s Simeon Cheatham Award for her service specific to the development of children. Freeman worked as a research assistant in Laura Wray-Lake’s lab for optimal social development, and her background as a psychology major has driven her to provide aid to children with developmental disabilities. “I’ve learned that a strengths-based approach to academic education and emotional welfare is really the most effective,” she said.
Freeman has been able to apply this knowledge through her service in music, art, and movement therapy for children at the Mt. Hope Family Center, Hochstein School of Music, and the Boston Center. “I enjoyed putting what I learned in lab in action through service.” Looking forward, Freeman hopes to pursue a career in clinical psychology.
Andrew Fried Prize: Stephaun Ward
Established by friends and family in 1961 in memory of Andrew Norman Fried, class of 1961. This prize is awarded to the man who, upon completion of his freshman year, has shown outstanding qualities of character, superior moral judgment, and interest in serving his fellow students.
Delno Sisson Prize: Magnifique Nsengimana
In 1957, this award was established by a gift from Delno Sisson, class of 1966. This prize is awarded annually to the freshman who has shown the most improvement not only in academic work, but also in adjusting to college life and the student body.
Award for Freshman Leadership: Adil Ali
This award recognizes an exceptional man or woman of the freshman class who has motivated his or her fellow classmates to become actively involved in the campus community.
Eli & Mildred Sokol Prize: Elizana-Marie Joseph
This award was established in 1985 by a gift from Eli and Mildred Sokol, class of 1933. This prize is awarded to a sophomore who has emerged as a leader who can be expected to contribute significantly to the welfare of his or her fellow students in the next two years.
Award for Campus Contributions: Abigail Arnold ‘16 and Ryan Wier ‘15
Two awards, one each presented to a junior and senior class member who has made significant contributions to the University community, including, but not limited to, campus life, academic achievement and leadership, and community service. The award winner will have promoted and demonstrated excellence in all aspects of their college experience.
Seth H. & Harriet Terry Prize: David Markakis
Established in 1928 as a gift from Seth H. Terry, class of 1883, in memory of his parents. This award is given to the male member of the senior class who, by his industry, character and honorable conduct, has done the most for the life and character of the undergraduate community.
Percy Dutton Prize: Andrew Psarris
This prize was established in 1946 as a gift from Percy Dutton. This award is given to the male member of the graduating class who has excelled in “wholesome, unselfish and helpful influence” among his fellow students.
Award for Outstanding Fraternity and Sorority Leadership: Alap Patel
This award recognizes the positive contributions fraternities and sororities make to the campus community. It is awarded to a fraternity or sorority member who has led with integrity within their fraternal organization while also making significant contributions to the greater campus community.
Rob Rouzer Award for Excellence in Student Government Leadership: Antoinette Esce and Duncan Graham
Established in honor of his 28 years of service to the University of Rochester, the Rob Rouzer Award is conferred annually to a student affiliated with either of the three branches of the Students’ Association Government who has shown immense integrity and perseverance in striving to improve student life and welfare
Logan R. Hazen Award for Outstanding Contributions to Residential Life: Alesa Yuodsnukis
This award is given annually to the student who has “made significant contributions to the community and experience of students living in undergraduate residence halls. This student, through his or her actions, leadership, and innovation has promoted community through respect, fairness, and inclusion.”
Award for Athletic Leadership: Rachel Honard
This award recognizes the positive contributions athletes make to the campus community. It is awarded to a student athlete who has demonstrated leadership within their club or varsity sport while also making significant contributions to other aspects of campus life.
Presidential Award for Community Service: Rutul Amin
Established by the Dean of Students in 1990 to recognize University students who are committed to community service. Given to a senior for outstanding participation and leadership in service to the community beyond the campus, this award recognizes a student who has worked selflessly and effectively in addressing social causes. Areas of focus include, but are not limited to, improving literacy, reducing hunger and hopelessness, providing legal or medical assistance to the needy, and serving as a mentor.
Entrepreneurship Award: Abhishek Sharma
The award for entrepreneurship is given to a student, or group of students, who has turned an idea into a venture that benefited others. The recipient will have demonstrated individual initiative and knowledge through awareness of markets and attention to the needs of others.
Michael Lowenstein Memorial Award: Anansa Benbow
This award, named for Michael Lowenstein, class of 1960 is presented to the University of Rochester River Campus undergraduate who deepens student, faculty, and community awareness of existing social, racial, or political inequities. This undergraduate through his/her words and actions has endeavored to promote the ideals which Michael cherished. Michael sought to give a fresh view of things around us, to focus upon issues, to probe deeply using fact and objectivity and to open a dialogue with the community to find some answers.
Transfer Student Award: Tori Saldivia
This award, recognizing the unique role of transfer students to the campus community, is given to a student who transferred with sophomore standing or above, and has completed a full year of study at the University. The recipient will have demonstrated a quick, successful, and seamless transition to the institution and will have taken full advantage of his or her time spent at the University.
Simeon Cheatham Award: Madeline Freeman
Established in the 1970s by the Office of the Dean of Students to recognize outstanding University of Rochester students. This award is given to a student who has outstanding qualities in devotion to community service and to growth and development of children.
The Communal Principles Award: Students’ Association for Interfaith Cooperation (SAIC)
Established by the Office of the Dean of Students during the 2011-2012 academic year, this award is given annually to the student(s) or organization that best promote(s) the Communal Principals, as adopted by The College. These principles include Fairness, Freedom, Honesty, Inclusion, Respect, and Responsibility. One of these six principles will be highlighted annually and the recipient will have demonstrated qualities that exemplify the principles and/or created programming and activities related to this year’s Communal Principle: Inclusion.
Student Organization and Programming Awards:
Excellence in Programming: Eastman Freshman Class Council
This Excellence in Programming Award recognizes a student organization or group, either formal or informal, for its exceptional creativity, planning, and execution of a University program. Criteria upon which decisions are based include appeal to a broad cross-section of the University community, originality, and participation by members of the organization during all phases of the effort.
Outstanding Student Organization Award: Active Minds
Awarded to a student organization that has gone beyond the bounds of their membership by helping to create a positive campus environment for all students.
Award for Excellence in Creative Co-Sponsorship: Sigma Delta Tau Sorority
Established in 2004, the Award recognizes a program that was co-sponsored by a minimum of two organizations or groups. The cosponsored program should have been a new effort, one that brought together different facets of campus, and which served to build and strengthen the campus community.