Student leaders recognized at annual banquet


Nowshin Chowdhury

The annual Student Activities and Leadership Award Banquet was celebrated with the theme “Happy 60th Birthday, Oakland University!”

Student leaders who bleed black and gold were out in full force on April 10 for the 39th Annual Student Activities and Leadership Awards Banquet.

Balloons and birthday cake alluded to the theme of the banquet, which was “Happy 60th Birthday, Oakland University!”  The banquet was sponsored by the Center for Student Activities and Leadership Development, Chartwells, OU Alumni Association, OU Credit Union and the Student Activities Funding Board.

In the Banquet Rooms of the Oakland Center, students filled their bellies with food provided by Chartwells before Stephanie Jurva, assistant director for the CSA, welcomed the crowd to the awards banquet.

A group of keynote speakers who attended OU offered advice to the student leaders. The alumni speakers included Amy Ring Cebelak, Pat Cassady, Nick Descrochers, Brittani Hobbs, Tiffany LeDonne Smith and Michelle Southward. Their advice ranged from “make the most of your time at OU” to “cultivate your professional networks.”

“As a student leader, you leave here with a title: leader,” Southward said.

Next, a slideshow about the brand-new Emerging Leadership Program recognized the 37 seniors who are graduating from OU and the program. Quicken Loans partnered with Emerging Leaders. Don Tanner, who was an Emerging Leader at Ohio State University, spoke about his experience and encouraged the leaders to continue to do great things.

Student organizations that participated in the 2017 Share and Care Drive, which donated 11,000 bottles of water to Flint, were recognized for their outstanding role in helping others.

Hannah Clark and Rebekah Shippy of the CSA gave out awards for service leadership and student organizations, recognizing individuals and groups for everything from volunteering to innovative programming.

Greek life and club sports were also honored in their respective categories. Vitality Dance won big in the club sports category, scooping up three separate awards.

Faculty and staff who are advisers for student organizations were also recognized for their hard work and dedication.

Jean Ann Miller, director of the CSA, wrapped up the awards ceremony, thanking all of the students who showed up.

“This is the largest crowd we’ve ever had,” she said.

After thanking Jurva and Shippy for producing the ceremony,  Miller reminded those in attendance that the CSA office will be moved to the first floor of East Vandenberg Hall while the Oakland Center is under construction.

Echoing many of the sentiments of the other speakers, Miller stressed the importance of being involved in her closing remarks.

“You as an individual and an org make Oakland University,” she said.

Knowing finals are creeping up, Miller also wished attendees good luck.

“Best wishes to you on your final exams. Please pass them.”