This marks the sixth year the Office of Campus Engagement and Leadership (CEL) has presented their annual leadership awards. While this year may have been the first of the virtual nature, the event continued to serve as a spotlight for the office’s recognition of BraveNation’s student leaders.
The awards feature individual and group categories where students, faculty and staff members of UNC Pembroke submitted nominations highlighting why each nominee was deserving of the recognition. The 2020 event was hosted virtually by Brea Brown—a junior exercise and sport science major, 2019 Homecoming Queen and active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and Major Hart—a senior majoring in information technology, active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and 2019 Homecoming King.
According to Hart, “For individual awards, successful leaders must have a realistic assessment of their own abilities—their strengths and weaknesses, their effect on others and the gaps that need to be filled. The awards in this category acknowledge excellence achieved through exemplifying individual values—consciousness of self, congruence and commitment.”
There are seven awards in the Individual Awards category—three for advisors to student organizations and four for student leaders across campus.
The individual categories included:
- Outstanding New Advisor Award, which recognizes an advisor in their first or second year advising a student organization, who provides outstanding support for the organization in all situations and gives organization members fresh ideas that promote critical thinking, responsible citizenship and encourage life-long learning. Christina Pacheco, advisor for WOMAN and Sigma Omicron Epsilon Sorority, Inc. was the recipient.
- Advisor of the Year Award, which recognizes the outstanding service and leadership of a faculty or staff advisor who has made a significant contribution to both the student members and the organization as a whole. The nominee should demonstrate strong advising skills, show they are readily available to students and take great strides to help the organization's leadership develop. The award recipient was Kyle Levine, advisor for Student Government Association.
- Advisor Hall of Fame Award, which is presented to a student organization advisor at UNC Pembroke for their longevity, continuous contributions and support to a student organization. This year’s recipient was Kevin Freeman, advisor for Model United Nations.
- Values-Based Leadership Award, presented to an individual student who exemplifies congruence by living, working and leading in alignment with their core values, principals and beliefs successfully integrating the values of their self and those of UNCP into their day-to-day operations. Ethan Oxendine was named recipient.
- Unsung Leader of the Year Award, presented to a student leader who put their heart and soul into everything they do, but often goes unrecognized. Tyrese King is the 2020 recipient.
- Emerging Leader of the Year Award, presented to an emerging student leader who provides exemplary service, commitment and who makes a meaningful contribution by initiating positive change on campus or within the Pembroke community. Dana Hunt-Locklear, is the 2020 recipient.
- Outstanding Leader of the Year Award, presented to a student leader whose long-term dedication and commitment creates positive change within the UNCP community. Des Woods is this year’s winner.
The event then moved to present Group Awards. According to Hart, “The Group Awards recognize that good internal dynamics do not happen by accident. They come from an awareness of how the group functions. The awards in this category acknowledge excellence in collaboration, common purpose and controversy with civility.”
The group awards are as follows:
- Values-Based Leadership Award, presented to a student group that exemplifies congruence by living, working and leading in alignment with
- their core values, principals and beliefs successfully integrating the values of their organization and those of UNCP into their day-to-day operations. The 2020 winner is Residence Hall Association.
- Embracing Difference Award, recognizes a student group who has demonstrated diversity, cultural or multicultural competencies and exemplified significant commitment to these competencies by providing information or activities around issues including: age, race/ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, color, national origin, religion, disability, gender, or veteran status etc. as part of ongoing efforts to embrace difference and create and maintain a socially just and globally engaged citizenry among students at UNCP paving the way for positive change. The winner was Chinese Students and Scholars Association.
- Red-Tailed Hawk Spirit Award, presented to a student group that embodies the qualities of the red-tailed hawk—speed, keen sight, focus, power and good luck—as they relate to maintaining and improving the sense of school spirit, camaraderie and participation in major university events throughout the academic year. This year’s recipient is Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
The next category of awards presented was Program and Event Awards. According to host Brea Brown, “These awards will acknowledge student group initiatives, programs or events demonstrating a commitment to the UNCP and greater Pembroke communities by exemplifying community and societal values through active citizenship and the promotion of positive change.”
The Program and Event Awards are as follows:
- Collaborative Program of the Year Award, recognizes a specific program that exemplifies the success of combining elements of collaboration, common purpose and controversy with civility when working in a group setting to create quality programming that benefits the UNCP community. The recipient is Chinese Students and Scholars Association in collaboration with Genshiken for Moon Festival.
- Building Traditions Award of Excellence, presented to a recurring program or event that embodies the mission and purpose of CEL and the university encouraging students, faculty and staff to be responsibly connected to the
- UNCP community and society. The recipient is Residence Hall Association for A Party Fit for a King.
- Most Innovative Program of the Year Award, presented to a student group that best acknowledges and understands the current needs of the UNCP student body and has positively advanced the UNC Pembroke community through sponsoring a project or program that exemplifies the ability to think critically, adapt to change and think in a state of possibility. This was awarded to The American Association of University Women for We Care for Feminine Care.
- Responsible Citizenship Program of the Year Award, presented to a student group for programming that has made a meaningful contribution to the surrounding community through service, addressed an existing problem, was committed to working with and for others and successfully empowered others to act. Student Government Association for SGA Forum Series was presented the award.
The next two awards, presented by Director of Campus Engagement and Leadership Abdul Ghaffar, during the virtual event were the Chancellor’s Cup Award and Runner-Up.
“The Chancellor’s Cup Award is given annually to one organization whose activities and events are consistent with the mission and/or purpose of the organization, the Office of Campus Engagement and Leadership and The University of North Carolina at Pembroke,” Ghaffar explained.
Black History Club was named the runner up and received $500 with the award. Ghaffar stated, “This student organization has clearly demonstrated they were a contender for the Chancellor’s Cup. Active members of this organization were able develop themselves in preparation for graduate school. This organization has given back to the Robeson County by traveling to middle and high schools during Black History Month to talk about black history facts and the importance of Black history. This year, the organization was able to bring a mobile museum to campus in a one-of-a-kind experience to commemorate black history.”
The 2020 Chancellor’s Cup Award was presented to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Ghaffar congratulated the recipients by explaining “This year’s winner has equipped their members with skills to not only be successful in their organization, but in other organizations and the workforce as well. This organization understands the impact it can have on the campus and Pembroke community at large. In doing so, this organization was able to fulfill their Global Impact project by building a little library inside the Pembroke Housing Authority. This organization was able to create experiences for their members and students on campus to engage peers in critical conversations. This year’s Chancellor’s Cup recipient has fully lived up to its purpose of ‘Service to all Mankind.’” The organization received $1,000 with the award.
In addition to Leadership Awards, CEL recognized organizations that went above and beyond to earn their spot in the Bronze, Silver and Gold Level of the Student Organization Leadership Development (SOLD) Process.
All student organizations at UNC Pembroke must participate in the SOLD Process by completing the registration portion to maintain recognition each academic year. All student organizations will be identified as one of two classifications: registered or recognized. There are three levels which can be achieved: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Once an organization has completed all requirements for the Bronze level, they become a recognized organization and receive larger benefits and even greater support from the Office of Campus and Engagement and Leadership.
Bronze recipients included Accounting Students Association, Campus Association of Social Workers and Health Careers Club. Each organization received a $150 grant from Campus Engagement and Leadership.
While there were no organizations to receive the silver designation, several organizations qualified for the gold level distinction: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the American Association of University Women, Black History Club I Am Boss, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, Inc., Public Relations Student Society of America and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. These recipients will have the opportunity to receive up to a $450 grant from Campus Engagement and Leadership.
Assistant Director of Campus Engagement and Leadership Kyle Levine closed the virtual ceremony by expending gratitude for all involved. “I want to personally thank each and every one of you for joining the Office for Campus Engagement and Leadership in celebrating the accomplishments of the student leaders, organization advisors and organizations here at UNCP.” Levine continued by thanking the award review committee which included Director for Compliance in Athletics Christina Chow, Executive Assistant to the Chancellor Jocelyn Graham, Assistant Director of Fitness Daniel Perdue, Museum Specialist in The Museum of the Southeast American Indian David Scott, and Area Coordinator at Kennesaw State University in Housing and Residence Life Erica White.
“While we wish we could have celebrated our students in person as we have in years past, we are thrilled to be able to utilize this technology in order to continue with the event and connect virtually with student leaders of UNC Pembroke. Our students are exceptional, and CEL looks forward to highlighting their achievements and impacts on our campus each year,” stated Ghaffar.
“I am really proud of Kyle and the work of his team on this project. As always, he showed great pride and commitment to his work and to UNC Pembroke during these trying times. We are all being challenged to stay focused and complete projects and Kyle continues to step up to the challenge,” Ghaffar continued.