May 09, 2013

Organizations, student leaders earn honors

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Several Southern Illinois University Carbondale student leaders and registered student organizations recently earned recognition from Student Involvement and Leadership Development for their service and dedication.

There were 115 nominations for the awards presented for the 2012-2013 academic year.  A special ceremony and reception this month recognized the winners, and featured highlights of the notable registered student organizations, programs, events, officers, advisers and members. 

The awards, from a unit of the University’s Student Life and Intercultural Relations, honor people and groups for their work within their organizations, the University and the surrounding community.

Winners of the annual RSO and Leadership Awards, along with a brief description of the awards and student hometowns and majors, were:

  • Outstanding Philanthropic Initiative:  Alpha Tau Omega, a group earning national acclaim for its work with For Kids Sake.  The organization also co-sponsored a 5K run helping raise more than $10,000 for orphans in India and participated in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, the Boys and Girls Club Oscar Night, St. Jude Children’s Hospital’s Up ‘Til Dawn, the Women’s Center’s Walk a Mile and the Carbondale Youth Showcase.  In addition, the RSO collected more than $15,000 for the Bald Knob Christian Center.
  • Most Improved RSO:  Sigma Pi Fraternity International.
  • Outstanding Program/Event:  Walk a Mile, organized by the Interfraternity Council.  This was the second year for the event that brought together more than two dozen student organizations to help enhance awareness at the University and in the community about the issue of domestic violence and its importance while also raising money for the Carbondale Women’s Center.
  • Outstanding RSO:  Up ‘Til Dawn, a philanthropic group formed to raise funds and awareness on behalf of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.  More than 800 students participated gathering in excess of $65,000 for the hospital, which treats children from around the world suffering from life-threatening diseases while charging nothing beyond what insurance covers.
  • Outstanding RSO Officer and Dr. Katie Award winner:  Alexander Martin, a May 2013 computer science graduate from Normal.  Martin, a founding member and president of the Black Male Roundtable, authored the group’s constitution, created its website, and integrated the organization with the new Black Men’s Initiative program.  He’s also been involved in various other RSOs on campus ranging from sports groups to academic organization.  Martin plans to pursue his master’s degree in higher education administration/student affairs at SIU Carbondale or Ohio State University. The Dr. Katie “Spirit” Award, named in honor of Katherine Sermersheim, interim dean of students, goes to a graduating senior who exemplifies the qualities and characteristics of its namesake.  The recipient is to be someone who is supportive, diplomatic, dedicated, fair, vibrant, a problem solver, team-oriented and a student advocate.
  • Steve Harris Outstanding Treasurer:  Tara Habibi, a junior from Springfield.  Habibi, biological sciences major with chemistry minor, is treasurer for Sigma Kappa.  The award recognizes outstanding fiscal management work by an RSO treasurer and Habibi’s nomination noted that she is organized, hard-working, communicates well and that she created a membership payment plan and developed a budget that is not contingent upon membership fees.
  • Outstanding Adviser:  Emily Craske, coordinator of the Student Programming Council.
  • Spirit of Diversity:  MUSIC.  The award honors the RSO that best exemplifies a commitment to and support of diversity through its programs and activities during the year.