Admiration for campus leaders real at virtual ceremony

By Kyle Hobstetter on May 10, 2020

Despite a closed campus, the Student Affairs Leadership Awards found a way to recognize those making a difference

Sequoia Williams hosting the 2020 Student Affairs Leadership Awards
Campus Activities Board student director Sequoia Willams hosts the 2020 Student Affairs Leadership Awards via videoconferencing on Thursday, May 8. 

While campus may be quiet, Towson University is still finding ways to celebrate.

On Thursday, May 8, TU honored its campus leaders at the annual Student Affairs Leadership Awards ceremony. While the event is usually in West Village Commons full of black and gold decorations, this year’s awards had a different feel to them.

With Towson University moving to distance learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Division of Student Affairs held this year’s ceremony digitally. They hosted all the winners in a special Cisco WebEx Meetings videoconference and broadcasted the event live on the Student Activities Facebook page

“With TU now focused on virtual learning it was not a question that TU would continue with leadership awards,” says Ashly Huff, TU’s coordinator of student leadership. “That’s because our students, organizations, faculty and staff work hard all year round to make TU what it is, and Student Affairs wanted to make sure all student leaders and organizations knew their impact, accomplishments and hard work is not diminished or forgotten.”

 

 

Each year Student Affairs and the SGA honor outstanding students, staff, faculty and organizations that promote the spirit of active campus participation through student government, community service, student employment, student leadership and much more.

 With more than 300 student organizations—ranging from academic and cultural clubs to Greek life and sports clubs—this year’s virtual awards featured a record number of nominations.

“We had 225 nominations this year from a variety of departments on campus, which is a true testament to the incredible impact our student leaders make on campus,” says Vernon Hurte, TU vice president of student affairs.  

“We in student affairs love what we do, and we value all of the hard work our students put into their employment, classes and organizations on campus.” 

During the videoconference, many students were able to accept their awards virtually, and were able to share a few words and give thanks. This includes senior Simone Richardson, who was the recipient of the Student Employee of the Year Award and the Vice President of Student Affairs Award 

“I am so grateful for all of the amazing supervisors, co-workers and mentors I have met during my journey at Towson University,” Richardson said during her acceptance speech. “Countless people have contributed to my desire to become a student affairs professional because of all the love and support I have received. If it wasn’t for you all, I may have never found my passion so I will forever be grateful for all of you.” 

Along with holding the videoconference, Student Affairs featured the award winners on the Student Activities’ Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts leading up to the event. Along with announcing the winners, they shared part of the winners’ nomination letters. 

 
 

With the uncertainty surrounding the end of the school year, Towson University President Kim Schatzel wanted it known that students, faculty and staff are still making meaningful contributions to the campus culture.

“I’m very grateful to everyone for the dedication we’ve shown each other, and a big shout out to our amazing student leaders who make a difference each and every day,” Schatzel says. “From events like Welcome to TU to all of our virtual offerings this term, students are continuing to be engaged and to be a part of our amazing community.”

Students were nominated by faculty, staff, fellow students or through self-nominations. This year’s winners were:

Individual Awards Category

  • The Margie Tversky Outstanding Adviser Award — Vanessa Gonzalez-Wright and Jeff Keenan
  • The Outstanding Campus Employer Award —  Kevin Fry
  • The Student Employee of the Year Award — Simone Richardson
  • The Outstanding Service-Learning Faculty Member Award — John McTague
  • The Eco-Tiger Award — Zoe Huff
  • The Outstanding Graduate Student Award — Savannah Kirtley
  • The Mary Leeper Emerging Leader Award — Olivier Ambush
  • The Unsung Hero Award — Hannah Knapp
  • The Raft Woodus Social Activist Award — Edmund Savage and Khouri Lassiter
  • The James R. Saxon Memorial Scholarship — Muhammad Waheed
  • The SGA Dreamers Award — Oluwasolape Afolabi
  • The SGA International Student Award — Suphitha Mook Phawapoothanon
  • The SGA Pride Award — Nic Koski
  • The SGA Empowering Women Award — Rebecca Robbins
  • The SGA Student Leader of the Year Award — Briseyda Barrientos-Ariza
  • Maravene Loeschke Leadership Scholarship — Nina Bundy and Vanessa Anegbode
  • The Mary Lee Farlow Scholarship — Saydu Paye and Briseyda Barrientos-Ariza
  • The Tiger Pride Award — Leah McLean and Ny’esha Young
  • The Vice President of Student Affairs Award — Jacob Bizzarri, Lewis Laury, Edmund Savage, Faith Wade, Kelly McCarthy, Simone Richardson, Samira Barnes, Zari McCullers
  • The Marion Hoffman Ethical Leadership Award — Courtney Ferguson

Organizational Awards Category

  • The New Organization Award — The Society of Arab Students
  • The Hoke L. Smith Organization of the Year Award — Campus Activities Board

Program Award Category

  • Outstanding Multicultural Program Award — Bashment - Caribbean Student Association
  • Outstanding Program Award — 50th Founder’s Day Banquet – Black Student Union 

Students who want get involved in an organization can learn more about what TU has to offer through Involved@Towson.edu. Students can also learn more about leadership programs and workshops offered through TU.