Edward McFadden – Staff Writer
CLARION, Pa- Continuing with Clarion University’s Academic Excellence Series, the Clarion University Student Senate hosted the 15th annual Reinhard Awards Ceremony April 26. The ceremony recognized outstanding students and RSOs on campus for their achievements, and allowed student organizations to celebrate their own outstanding members.
Leah Henderson and Devon Vallies of Student Senate acted as Mistress and Master of Ceremonies for the evening, introducing representatives of organizations to the stage and directing the event through the program.
Among the RSOs that presented awards were ABLE; the Black Student Union; UAB; the Interfraternity Council; the Panhellenic Council, and Student Senate itself. These were accompanied in the ceremony by different university organizations, including the Center for Leadership and Involvement presenting Excellence in Service Awards. Sean Hoke presented the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, and Carl Callenburg of Conferences and Events Services presented the Auditoria and Tech Awards.
The event celebrated fundraising efforts, community service and leadership in positions. For fundraising, Kelly Ryan of the Center for Leadership and Involvement Accomplishments credited the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and Panhellenic Council (PHC) with raising over a quarter of a million dollars in charity last year.
This event also included the James Gemmell Student Leader Award, which was awarded to Olivia Chuzie, a senior speech pathology and ideology major and the president of NSSLHA. She also earned the Center for Leadership and Involvement’s Outstanding Achievement in a Sponsored Program Award, ABLE’s Student Involvement Award and, along with the rest of NSSLHA, was awarded the Collaborative Trip Award. Chuzie spoke fondly of the ceremony, saying it was “humbling.”
“It’s not necessarily the awards themselves, but the meaning behind them that makes me get goosebumps,” Chuzie said. “To be recognized for service at these awards means a lot to me. Now I have something to look at all the time to remind me where I came from, and all the hard work I put in. It reminds me that I came from a university that really does appreciate me, and pushed me to do everything that I could.”
Faculty members also received recognition at the ceremony. Dr. Stephen Johnson was awarded the Advisor of the Year Award for his effort in collaboration with the CUPellas, a new female acapella group; and Joseph Croskey of the Honors Program was declared Tri Sigma’s Advisor of the Year.
President Whitney gave an address as well, commending the RSOs for the year’s accomplishments. “You are the leadership. More than 5000 students. This leadership won’t stop,” she said. She also mentioned Mayor Parker of Clarion Borough, and Dr. Brenda Dede of Clarion’s Borough council, as well as Clarion’s 2017 citizen of the year in the audience.
Other notable awardees included Brana Hill as the Black Student Union’s Student of the Year, Torron Mollett as Center for Leadership and Involvement’s Personal Commitment to Service Award and Anthony Servette, who earned the Student Senate’s Outstanding Committee of the Year for his disaster relief efforts after a fire in Clarion left 13 families destitute.
Henderson reported that the Reinhard Awards are important because they shine light on many different students and organizations that otherwise might not receive obvious recognition. “We like to recognize everyone’s hard work throughout the year on projects and programs that we all benefit from and we do not want that to go unnoticed.,”
Henderson was recognized with the Student Senate’s own Outstanding Chair of the Year Award for planning and executing events such as Wingo, Social Equity Dinner and the Reinhard Awards Ceremony itself.
The night was supplemented by the performance of the CUPellas, as well as Clarion’s Got Talent Winner Breanne Huber, who performed “To Make You Feel My Love” by Adele.