Student Leaders Celebrated at an Unconventional All-Organization Banquet

May 18, 2020
By: WSU News

At the end of each academic year, the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership Development (OSILD) hosts the All-Organization Banquet for members of Worcester State University’s student organizations. The All-Organization Banquet is an opportunity for student leaders to celebrate the completion of another year and reflect back on all of their successes. Students look forward to spending time with their friends, enjoying dinner, and listening to a presentation of awards.

Despite the shift to online learning this semester, the staff members of the OSILD felt that it was important to continue plans to hold the end of year celebration.

“With everything that is going on right now, and how abruptly some of our student’s time with their clubs ended this semester, we decided that we still wanted to be able to celebrate all the wonderful things they accomplished this year,” said Sarah Potrikus, assistant director in the OSILD. “Once that was decided, it was just figuring out the best way to bring our students together to have fun.”

The virtual All-Organization Banquet was held on Wednesday, May 6, over Zoom, for any student leader who wanted to join. During the 45-minute presentation, staff members of the OSILD presented awards, watched a slideshow of highlights from the year, and shared some laughs about the year.

Recipients of both the Hall of Fame Award and the Outstanding Student Leader Award were announced during the virtual event.

The Hall of Fame Award recognizes the contributions of a dedicated member of a student organization, and is awarded to a member of each student organization who submits a nomination. Often, this is someone who has gone above and beyond to help the club succeed, whether it be with a program or helping to recruit new members. The recipients of this year’s Hall of Fame Aware are:

Almost Off Book – Paul Luppino

Campus Ambassadors – Christine Babbitt

Chabad on Campus – Julia Wright

Cheerleading Team – Sara Jedrzynski

Christian Fellowship – Anna Johnson

Commuter Activities Board – Faye Rhault

Dance Company – Sabrina Paulson

Enactus – Zoe Bates

Equestrian Club – Emma Gosselin

Game Club – Sara DiBello

LGBTQ+ Alliance – Isabelle Fox

Student Events Committee – Elaina Curtis

Student Senate – Stephen Lenane

Third World Alliance – Dejour Hollins

The Outstanding Student Leader Award is given to a student leader who has made a significant contribution to student life at Worcester State as a member of one of more student organizations. This student leader has exceeded all expectations in leadership, engagement, and campus citizenship. They have also made notable contributions toward the development of leadership qualities in their fellow students.

This student has shown motivation, initiative, dedication, and perseverance, and will leave a lasting legacy upon graduation from Worcester State.

Kristie McNamara, director of the OSILD, presented the Outstanding Student Leader Award to Manuel Reyes-Ponce, a member of Third World Alliance, the 2020 Class Committee, and the 2019-2020 Student Trustee. McNamara shared some quotes from the nominations before sharing a bit of her own experience working with Reyes-Ponce.

“Over the three years of knowing [Reyes-Ponce], I have had many important and thought-provoking conversations with him and I have learned as much from him as I hope he has learned from me. Developing connections and rapport with student leaders is so important in the work that I do personally, but it is rare to work with a student who I believe to be more impactful than the average WSU student. Although [Reyes Ponce] is my polar opposite in a lot of ways, we have similar values and mindset that allowed us to work well together, and whenever I needed a thoughtful opinion on what would be best for students or what students may be interested in, he was my go to for advice,” she said.

The event ended with a message to graduating seniors.

“We are so proud of the time, energy, and effort that our seniors have put into their organizations,” said Potrikus. “While we wish we could be celebrating with them in person, we hope that they were able to enjoy this event just as much.”

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