By Kylie Heisz, Kayla Smith & Emmy Wolfe
Student leaders fill the halls of the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. Not always recognized for what they do, the University Awards ceremony provides a time for like-minded individuals to gather and celebrate their accomplishments.
Adam Novotny, the assistant director of the Student Engagement Center, explains the awards as “a way to formally recognize students who demonstrated exceptional commitment to the university as well as the community.” These allow students to be recognized and celebrated for their hard work in bettering their campus community. Awards recipients vary from academic achievement, community service, student organization leaders, and student employees/interns. “We see students with broad experiences in many different areas,” said Novotny, which includes academic success, community involvement, and campus experience.
Being chosen as a recipient is no easy task. Students are nominated by faculty and staff at the beginning of the semester. After confirming that the students are eligible, they must complete the application questionnaire, which is then blind reviewed by a committee of faculty, staff, and students.
Megan Paluch is a recipient of the Chancellor’s Medallion at this semester’s University Awards, who works in housing, has been president of Phi Eta Sigma and the Pre-Med/PA club, a student ambassador, in NRHH, TriBeta Honors society, and involved with the Phoenix Leadership Program. Paluch said, “A goal of mine was to create a legacy for the organizations I was in and be a role model for younger leaders. I learned that small achievements can create big impacts.” These are all examples of how a student can shine on campus and grow into outstanding leaders.
Other recipients of the Chancellor’s Medallion include 10 students who have dedicated their college career to being involved and the best they can be on campus. The Chancellor’s Medallion represents some of the top leadership students with a GPA of 3.250 or higher. The receiving students contribute to campus through campus and community involvement as well as academic success.
The University Leadership Award is also given out during the ceremony, which represents students in good academic standing at the University. Sixteen outstanding leaders were awarded at this year’s ceremony. One of them is Cassidy Ruchti, who is a Building Supervisor at the Kress Event Center, along with being a peer mentor for a first-year seminar. “This past semester, I have helped a class of freshmen navigates the first few months of college!” said Ruchti.
At the 41st annual University Awards ceremony, each of the previously mentioned students was recognized for their involvement and excellence within the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay as well as the community. Some advice given to future leaders from Paluch is, “Leaders don’t always know the answer, and part of being a leader is using your network to achieve more.” Ruchti added, “It is okay to fail. I think there is a stigma around leaders having to be perfect all the time. I’ll be the first to admit I have failed a time or two. As leaders, you need to embrace growth, so those around you know it’s okay too.” Every student has a chance to grow as people as well as showcase their leadership.