The 2020-21 Student Life Awards were recently announced in a pre-recorded video distributed on Newman University’s YouTube and Facebook pages. The video featured Christine Schneikart-Luebbe, dean of students, and Joseph Shepard, director of multicultural engagement and campus life.
The awards provide Newman faculty, staff and administrators the opportunity to recognize contributions that students and student organizations make to campus. The five awards include Student Employee of the Year, Student Leader of the Year, Registered Student Organization of the Year, University Affiliated Student Organization of the Year, and Advisor of the Year.
The Student Employee of the Year Award recognizes student employees who embody service excellence and dedication while maintaining high academic achievement. The 2021 Student Employee of the Year is Karen Do, who works in the admission department.
Gabrielle Altenor received the 2021 Student Leader of the Year Award for her work on many campus projects, including helping develop Newman’s new food pantry and ensuring the mental health needs of students are being appropriately addressed. She’s also an active member of the Honors program and was selected to attend a national conference to bring new ideas back to campus.
The 2021 Advisor of the Year Award, which recognizes outstanding student organization advisors, was given to Huachuan Wen, who helps to spread cultural awareness across campus by serving as advisor for the Asian Student Association. His nominator wrote, “We would not have been able to continue to cultivate Asian awareness at Newman without the incredible support from our amazing advisor, Dr. Wen.”
The 2021 Registered Student Organization of the Year Award was given to the Multicultural Leadership Organization for its positive impact on the Newman community. MCLO strives to create a safe space for all students and is guided by its core values of unity, leadership and cultural awareness. The organization allows members to speak amongst their peers and share their vastly different backgrounds and perspectives. The organization also works diligently to host cultural festivities on campus.
Finally, the 2021 University Affiliated Student Organization of the Year, established to recognize a student organization sponsored by a division of department, went to the Student Government Association. This past year, the group worked hard to serve Newman students and be their representative voice through initiatives like establishing an on-campus food pantry to combat food insecurity and providing startup funds for the Student Affairs Emergency Fund, which provides eligible Newman students with short-term financial assistance. Additionally, the Student Government Association reallocated Student Accident Shield Insurance money to mental health initiatives, which allowed them to fund three months of teletherapy to Newman students for free.
Newman faculty, staff, alumni and Wichita community members comprised the judging panel for each of the awards:
- Alejo Cabral, Director of W- A Community of Young Professionals
- Ariel Rodriguez, executive director of Empower Evergreen
- Jill Fort, dean of the School of Business
- Roxi Davis, Newman University Master of Social Work program director
- Connie Mansaw, Newman University alumni