Awards banquet aims to honor student successes
On April 20, the Office of Student Activities and Orientation hosted the annual Student Leadership Awards Banquet to honor and thank students and organizations for their contributions to campus. Special awards, such as Lasell Chair, Leadership in Equity, and newly named Michael B. Alexander Student Leader of the Year, were also presented to standout students.
Director of Student Activities and Orientation, Thomas Morgan, is in charge of planning the event and is a part of the selection committee. This year’s event saw 128 guests and Morgan is happy with how the event went.
“Any opportunity to get all of our students and faculty and staff together and celebrate everyone’s accomplishments is a success, and I think it’s something we should do as much as we can. So, hearing the speeches about everything our students did and getting to recognize them, especially the students who don’t often get much thanks, who don’t get the recognition they deserve, to me makes it all worthwhile,” Morgan said.
Alanis Perez-Rivera (‘21), Assistant Director of Intercultural Engagement and Commuter Life, is on the selection committee. According to Perez-Rivera, it’s important to attend and support your peers, even if you do not win an award.
“It’s a lot of seniors recognized, so it’s kind of celebrating an ending, celebrating their graduation,” Perez-Rivera said. “I wish we could recognize everybody because it’s a big deal. You worked hard for so long… it should be celebrated, and someone should be saying, ‘We are proud of you’. We’ve seen you work hard, and we are acknowledging and want to celebrate that.”
Morgan said, “I would just hope that students know they are appreciated, even if they didn’t receive an award, that is not to say their work went unnoticed, and I hope every student who participated, or who joined us last night and participates in a student club or organization or any initiative across campus knows they are valued and the work they do is important.”
According to Perez-Rivera, the Lasell Chair and Michael B. Alexander Student Leader of the Year are the big awards. While there are multiple Bowl Awards given out to student-leaders that made an impact in their individual space of involvement, the Lasell Chair winner is the student leader with the biggest impact on as many facets of campus as possible.
Perez-Rivera won the Lasell Chair in 2021 and says going from winner to part of the selection committee was interesting. “It’s actually cool to think about, for two years in a row, we’ve had the conversation about who’s winning the chair, and it’s cool to think people were having that conversation about me,” Perez-Rivera said.
Award winners are students that are nominated to the committee, and in late March, they meet to begin looking over nominations. The committee picks all award winners in one meeting. Because of the nomination process, Perez-Rivera emphasized the importance of honoring students from all corners of campus.
“The whole committee is really thoughtful, we’re taking our time, really making sure students that should be honored are honored…the committee works hard to say ‘This student may go under the radar a little more, but I’ve seen them accomplish so much and I want to see them acknowledged on this day’ and I think that’s really important,” Perez-Rivera said.
Morgan said an important piece of criteria when selecting winners is the “overall impact on student experience, in particular, things that go above and beyond what is required of things students would normally do,” Morgan said, emphasizing that the student did something “just because they felt it was important to do.”
Despite being selective to those with the most impact and those not frequently recognized, Perez-Rivera wishes more faculty nominated their “superstar” students. “I’ve seen the same employees nominated for two years, and when that happens, we are getting at the same group of students, and I think it’s really important that we are honoring students who may be less in the forefront.”
In the future, Morgan wishes that students continue to take advantage of the opportunities provided to them, so each student can make an impact in the best way for them; “Lasell is a really small community, which I think makes it really special in that students can really shape things and make it their own. Every student is able to make a great impact in their own way, whatever that may be, and so I just really encourage students to continue to do that and that someone out there…appreciates everything because, in the end, it makes the work I do more fulfilling and gratifying.”