Student Life Presents Annual Student Organization Awards

Event featured 11 awards in presented to student organizations and their members

Group Photo

Members of the board of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars celebrate their receipt of the the Executive Board of the Year with Director of Student Life Ellen Whitehead.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. —  Student Life at the University of California, Riverside capped off a busy and exciting year by hosting their annual Student Organization Awards Ceremony on Monday, June 2, 2014. The annual event, which is a hallmark of the spring graduation season, featured 11 awards in presented to student organizations and their members.

“The awards ceremony is an opportunity for the members of our organizations to look back on what has been a tremendous year, and to recognize those groups and individuals who have gone above and beyond,” said Interim Senior Coordinator of Student Organizations and Campus Vitality Joseph Martinez. “They are all truly examples of excellence.”

The 2013-14 recipients are:

  • Student Organization of the Year – Global Brigades
  • Advisor of the Year – Audrey Pusey & Alyssa Monique Heckmann, Healing Highlanders
  • Collaborative Program of the Year – Katipunan & Filipinos in Health Sciences
  • Commitment to Higher Education Outreach – Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology Graduate Student Association
  • Education Program of the Year – Neuroscience Graduate Student Association
  • Outstanding Community Service – Circle K International
  • Outstanding New Student Organization of the Year – R’Kids
  • Student Organization “Unsung” Hero of the Year  – Veronika Karlegan, Alpha Sigma Omicron
  • Student Organization Executive Board of the Year – National Society of Collegiate Scholars
  • Student Organization President of the Year – Joseph Alluin, Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity
  • The Marguleas Fraternity/Sorority Service Award – Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Kappa Theta Chapter

Individuals and organizations are nominated by students and selected by an awards committee. More extensive information on each award and recipient can be found at the end of the article. A list of past winners can be found on their website. (http://studentlife.ucr.edu/studentOrganizations/Pages/StudentOrganizationAwards.aspx)

Student Organization of the Year Award – Global Brigades

Presented in recognition of the organization’s contributions to the university and community, development of its members, and commitment to the organization’s purpose.

group photo

Members of the 2014 Organization of the Year, Global Brigades, stand with Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs James Sandoval.

Global Brigades is the world’s largest student-led global health and sustainable development organization. Working in the disciplines of medical, dental, public health, water, microfinance, business, environmental, human rights, and architecture, students raise funds to travel to other countries—earning hands-on experience and helping enhance the lives of those who lived in underserved communities. Through their Medical Branch, Global Brigades has taken medical trips to Central America where members learn how to triage patients, shadow doctors at work, and distribute prescribed medication to patients.

Their Medical Branch grew to more than 70 members during winter quarter and hosted several fundraisers, socials and community service events. In addition, the branch started a “Community Brigade” where they provide similar services to residents of the Inland Empire. They are also working to start clinics in the area and are enlisting the support of the UCR School of Medicine, Planned Parenthood, CI Trials, and the nursing office, among others.

Advisors of the Year – Audrey Pusey and Alyssa Heckman, Healing Highlanders

Presented in recognition of their dedication and volunteered time as advisors to the organization and contributions to the university and community.

Audrey Pusey and Alyssa Heckman, co-advisors for the Healing Highlanders student group, were presented with the Advisors of the Year award in recognition of their work in guiding organization.

Pusey, an associate director for Residence Life, and Heckman, a student affairs officer in Housing, were commended for their work to “empower, challenge, and assist our student organization by bringing new tasks to the table.”

Healing Highlanders was established to provide a safe and comfortable social environment for students in recovery from an addictive disorder. The organization was voted the 2011 UCR Organization of the Year. They have twice hosted the California Unified Collegiate Recovery Conference at UC Riverside, which has brought together members of several collegiate recovery communities from across California to teach them how to implement a CRC program or learning more about addiction and recovery support.

Collaborative Program of the Year – Katipunan & Filipinos in Health Sciences

Presented to two or more organizations in recognition of their collaborative efforts in providing enriching programming for the UCR community and the organizations’ positive development for their individual members.

Katipunan, the Pilipino Student Organization, and Filipinos in Health Sciences (FIHS) put together a fundraiser event to aid the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines in November 2013. The event, called “Katipunan FIHSes for a Cause” was an auction where members of both groups offered up services such as washing a car, bringing a lunch, or teaching someone how to drive a standard transmission car.

The groups paired up members of their cabinets, forming a strong bond between the organizations, and enlisted the assistance of other UCR student groups including Rhythm and Blues, the Vietnamese Student Organization, and the 909 HipHop dance troupe, as well as the off-campus National Alliance of Filipino Concerns, which was responsible for getting the funds to the Philippines. The event, which also featured a candle ceremony and drew more than 100 guests from Philippine community organizations from throughout Southern California, raised more than $1,000.

Commitment to Higher Education Outreach – Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology Graduate Student Association

Presented in recognition an organization that has made significant contributions to the students of an elementary school, junior high school, high school, community college or other 4 year institutions, therefore enhancing the UCR community.

Members of the Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology Graduate Student Association (EEOBGSA) spent hundreds of hours working with a variety of UCR undergraduate and first-year graduate students, as well as interacting with high school and middle school students from throughout the Riverside community.

They worked with more than 50 UCR undergraduates on research projects and participated in a variety of events, including Upward Bound, CNAS Discover Day, Shadow Day at UCR, and several science fairs, including the Riverside Unified School District Science Fair. These appearances and events were mutually beneficial, as the members were able to share their love of science while growing both personally and professionally.

Education Program of the Year – Neuroscience Graduate Student Association

Presented in recognition of the organization’s outstanding educational on-campus program, positive educational impact on the UCR community and the organization’s positive development for its individual members.

The Neuroscience Graduate Student Association’s fifth annual Brain Awareness Day on March 12, 2014 was selected as the top educational program of the year. The event was open to the entire UCR community as well as local K-12 students. Among the 500 attendees were 150 sixth graders from Benjamin Franklin Elementary School and 50 high school freshmen and teachers from Riverside STEM Academy.

The event featured a “Brain Bazaar” science fair with 11 interactive booths and demonstrations which taught visitors about how the brain worked, about the many of the recent advances in neuroscience and some of the careers available in the field. It included talks by UCR faculty members Peter Hickmott, Anupama Dahanukar and Aaron Seitz, and featured free food for more than 300 people.

Outstanding Community Service – Circle K International

Presented in recognition of the organization’s outstanding service efforts, commitment to addressing the needs of the UCR campus, Riverside community, and the organization’s positive development of its members.

The goal of Circle K International is to provide its members a variety of service projects that enable them to give back to the community, foster fellowship and promote leadership. In the past year, members accumulated more than 9,000 service hours through several different projects, including Keep Riverside Clean and Beautiful, the Anti-Bully Rally, the decoration of the Pasadena City College Rose Parade Float, and the Riverside Kiwanis Club Turkey BBQ.

In addition, members tutored elementary students at Longfellow Elementary School on Mondays and packaged food at Second Harvest Food Bank on Wednesdays. They spent their weekends and vacations participating in large-scale service projects throughout Riverside County and raised funds for non-profit organizations such as Pediatric Trauma Prevention Program and The Eliminate Project.

Outstanding New Student Organization of the Year – R’Kids

Presented to an organization that has registered in the last two years in recognition of the organization’s contributions to the University, community, development of its members, and commitment to the organization’s purpose.

Founded in 2012, R’Kids is made up of members of the student-parent community at UCR and is committed toward the goal of making resources more easily available for student-parents and their children. The group has organized and conducted a student-parent needs-assessment survey and hosted an October 2013 meeting which led to the development of a Student Parent Action Committee (SPAC). SPAC has acquired resources such as changing tables in family housing, a student-parent resource guide, a student-parent website (which is expected to launch in Fall 2014), and a student-parent coordinator.

Student Organization “Unsung” Hero of the Year – Veronika Karlegan, Alpha Sigma Omicron

Presented to a registered student organization member who has made significant contributions to the organization outside of their official duties, and their commitment to the organization’s purpose.

Veronika Karlegan served as external vice president of Alpha Sigma Omicron, a service organization dedicated to informing the student body of health-related fields, promoting academic excellence and serving the community. In addition to her regular duties, Karlegan expanded and market the program’s quarterly Basic Life Support training program, proposed creation of new leadership positions within the organization, and created a mentorship program with local high school students.

Student Organization Executive Board of the Year – National Society of Collegiate Scholars

Presented to the Executive Board/Council of a student organization registered in recognition of the executive board’s positive impact on the organization, university, community, development of organization’s members, and commitment to the organization’s purpose.

The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) is an honors organization that recognizes and elevates high-achieving students in all academic disciplines. The nine-member board relies upon each other to ensure the full functioning of the organization and support of its three pillars; community service, leadership and scholarship. NSCS hosts a tutoring program called “Planning to Achieve College Excellence” (PACE) that encourages high academic performance of students at Hawthorn elementary School in Moreno Valley.

Student Organization President of the Year – Joseph Alluin, Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity

Presented to a president or primary officer in recognition of outstanding leadership, including contributions to the organization, the university, the community, and their commitment to the organization’s purpose.

In addition to being a full-time student and working a total of 40 hours a week, Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity President Joseph Alluin faced the challenge of helping his organization fulfill requirements in order to get their group reinstated on campus. Commended as a leader with strong campus ties, he worked with a variety of campus groups to rebuild the fraternity and was commended for epitomizing the qualities of scholar, leader, athlete, and gentleman.

The Marguleas Fraternity/Sorority Service Award 2013-2014  – Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Kappa Theta Chapter

Presented in recognition of the sorority/fraternity who has exhibited leadership and involvement in the areas of philanthropy and service to others, the campus, and the community.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority hosted or participated in more than 15 events, ranging in topics from building a community garden to overcoming substance abuse to raising awareness about human trafficking. Further, the group overcame the loss of most of their membership to graduation, rebuilding the group to its current membership of 10 while also supporting one member who is fighting an illness that requires regular hospitalization.

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