Student leaders celebrate organization's accomplishments, honor five students and one faculty member with awards
On Thursday, April 16 leaders in Elon Volunteers! (EV!), Elon’s largest student-led and student-run organization, gathered to celebrate their accomplishments from the past year during Cheers for Volunteers!, the annual student recognition banquet. As one of the largest student organizations on campus, it is rare that all EV! members are able to gather at once. Cheers for Volunteers! allows EV! student leaders to appreciate the breadth and depth of their service, as well as providing a space to celebrate each other.
The 2014-2015 academic year was characterized by EV!’s innovation and commitment to growth. In the past year, over 250 students participated in 16 different Alternative Break programs, Safe Rides welcomed two new 12 passenger vans into its fleet, and Campus Kitchen coordinated the packaging of 40,000 meals to distribute through Stop Hunger Now to aid Ebola relief in Sierra Leone. EV!’s Public Relations Team grew form one position to a team of 15 leaders who have rebranded the organization using social media, graphic design, and videography in unprecedented ways. While the students were eager to celebrate the work of their entire organization, a large portion of the evening was devoted to recognizing outstanding student leaders.
The John H. Barnhill Servant Leader Award, created in 1999 to honor Mr. Barnhill and the spirit of servant leadership that he has brought to EV! and to this campus, was awarded to senior Rachel Gilman. Gilman has been active in EV! since her freshman year in the Service Learning Community, then became the Service Learning Leaning, and eventually, the Service Learning Director. She has participated in Elon Buddies, as well as three EV! Alternative Service Break programs. She has also been an active member of Epsilon Sigma Alpha.
Junior Becca Phillips was awarded the Spirit of Elon Volunteers! Award, which recognizes a student who embraces the mission of Elon Volunteers! and consistently supports the organization as a whole. Phillips was a member of the Service Learning Community during her freshman year, and then continued with EV! to become a PACE student, the Co-Director of Habitat for Humanity, and the Coordinator of the Poverty Simulation.
Senior Brooke Faison accepted the Chaplain Richard McBride Vision Award, created to honor the student who exemplifies the Chaplain’s spirit by moving volunteerism from an attitude of mind and heart to action in collaboration with others. Faison has been involved with EV! since her freshman year in the Service Learning Community. She has since held two different positions in Campus Kitchen, and has led Special Olympics for two years. Additionally, she served as the Service Chair for the Epsilon Sigma Alpha service sorority.
Senior Rachel Fishman was awarded the Kathy Manning Awareness Award, presented to a student who embodies the passion and enduring commitment Kathy Manning demonstrated in her personal and professional work while at Elon to raise awareness and address social issues in the spirit of solidarity with the community. Fishman has interned with a refugee resettlement agency, written her thesis on anti-human trafficking, and has led on-campus events to raise awareness of global hunger. She has contributed to EV! through her roles as a member of the Service Learning Community, a Service Learning Community Leader, and as this year’s Awareness Director.
Dr. Jason Husser accepted the inaugural EV! Outstanding Faculty or Staff Award. EV! students recognized Dr. Husser’s commitment to developing students into aware and engaged citizens, and his efforts to connect Elon with the surrounding community distinguish him as a champion of EV!’s values. Through his political science courses, his work with the Elon Poll, his contribution to the 2015 Alamance County Community Health Assessment, and his involvement with the Community Connections series, he involves students in ways to become active citizens to advance society.
The night concluded with seniors reflecting on their time with EV!, and offering advice to younger students. Senior Cat Palmer says, “We are extremely proud of all our current leaders, and look forward to continuing our work of community engagement with new leaders next year.”