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JU Student Leadership Awards spotlight dedication, activism

JU’s Student Leadership Awards for 2013 were presented Wednesday, April 17, in the Davis College of Business. 

From left, Brett Durda, President of JU’s Green Key honors society, and new inductees Cassandra Carter, Alex Borrelli, Kelly Jeanfavre and Clayton Levins. Photos by Michelle Davidson/Jacksonville University

The awards allow the Jacksonville University community to recognize high-achieving students and organizations, and publically acknowledge students’ dedication and hard work.

“This year we had a record number of nominations,” said Kaitlin Chambers, assistant director of Student Involvement and Leadership. “We had the wonderful problem of too many qualified students, organizations and events to choose from. We were also pleased to see so many students took the time to nominate their peers.” 

Awards presented by Student Involvement and Leadership at the ceremony, which opened with remarks from JU President Tim Cost, were as follows (see photo gallery below): 

Outstanding New Organization: Active Minds

This outstanding new organization can often be seen outside the Kinne Center, having fun while raising awareness on various social issues relevant to today’s college student. The group has planned and actively participated in numerous events in their first year as a registered student organization. This group is intentional about collaborating with academic departments and administrative offices alike, to truly unite the Jacksonville University community.

Most Improved Organization Award: Political Science Society

This academic year, the time was ripe for this organization to blossom, and they took full advantage. Whether holding student-led debates on polarizing issues, hosting watch parties for the Presidential debates or sending students to lobby in Tallahassee, this group was active and visible.

Best Community-Service Event: The Sociology Club showing of the documentary “Bully”

Organization members planned, marketed and executed an impactful event that brought more than 300 JU and Jacksonville community members together. The participants watched a difficult documentary and engaged in a thought-provoking, emotional discussion on an all-too-relevant subject: Bullying. The film screening led participants to begin taking action in Jacksonville schools to encourage social change.

Dolphin Service-Learning Award: Tulsi Patel

The 2013 recipient is an Honors student who has been actively involved with service. She successfully completed two academic service-learning courses in both botany and JU 168 Honors Leadership.  The recipient was also a part of JU’s Relay for Life Leadership team for two years. She has expanded her experiential learning by engaging in a Mayo Clinic internship. Student Involvement & Leadership and the Service-Learning Center congratulate her for exemplifying an ongoing commitment to service which is at the heart of the Dolphin Service-Learning Award.

Most Effective Program: Dolphin Productions, for the Florida Georgia Line Concert

This event was planned by a dedicated group of students. Many hours and even months went into planning it. It was hard to miss the marketing of this event across campus. It attracted a diverse population of students, staff, faculty and alumni. With an estimated attendance of nearly 3,000, this will cruise into the history books of JU as a very successful event.

Best Collaborative Event: Gay–Straight Alliance & Active Minds, for “Spirit Day”

This was simple, yet effective and impactful. It united may organizations and an on-campus office. The event asked students and staff to wear purple in show of support for LGBT youth and to raise awareness about suicide prevention. Many students and staff participated and could be seen wearing purple during the 2013 Best Collaborative Event.

Outstanding Advisor: Dr. Karen Jackson, for Green Key

Dr. Jackson has been an advisor to student organizations for many years. Her support and dedication has ensured the continued success of the Green Key honors student society. She has worked tirelessly to assist student leaders in the organization. Their enthusiasm and spirit for Green Key is felt by each of the members.

President’s Award/Female: Brittany Bush

This freshman has shown great potential, excelling in the classroom and becoming very involved in numerous JU organizations. In her first year as a Dolphin, she joined a sorority, Active Minds, the PanHellenic Council and the Student Alumni Association, and has become a JUSA representative — all while maintaining two on-campus work-study positions. As if that weren’t enough, in addition to her major, she is pursuing three academic minors. Her future is bright: based on her involvement and hard work, she has been hired as a Community Advisor and a Dolphin Productions Coordinator, and was selected for the prestigious Disney College Program.

President’s Award/Male: Ellis Harr

This freshman has quickly become very involved at Jacksonville University. He has taken an early interest in helping organize events on and off campus. He has demonstrated a high level of time management, balancing his co-curricular activities while pursuing a double major. This winner displays his pride as a JU Dolphin and future alumni everywhere he goes. He is one of JU’s rising student leaders.

Tim Shakespeare Staff Award/Male: Dr. Jeremy Stalker

Dr. Stalker has extreme passion and enthusiasm for his work. As a faculty member, he challenges students to think critically while providing an environment for intellectual growth.  Additionally, he serves as a liaison to his students by recommending both on-campus opportunities and career options available to them upon graduation.

Tim Shakespeare Staff Award/Female: Dr. Therese O’Connell

This winner has been a great inspiration to the students at Jacksonville University. She places a high priority on diversity at JU through open-minded and creative instruction. In addition, she encourages the student body to strive for their best, and places a strong emphasis on teamwork in the classroom.

Outstanding Student Leader: Jairid Pacileo

This winner has held leadership roles in numerous student organizations. His ability to remain committed to his goals and academics is a testament to his maturity, organizational skills and leadership potential. He is well-regarded by his peers, is a team player and an example of a modern gentleman. His investment to improve and enhance the JU community is demonstrated by his willingness to raise awareness to important issues on campus.

Outstanding Student Leader Award/Female: Brittani Wyskocil

This winner has held executive leadership positions in numerous JU student organizations. She is truly a leader for current and future Dolphins; she is a member of the Honor Student Association, takes prospective students on tours as a JU Ambassador, and helped ease the transition for the Class of 2016 as an Orientation Coordinator. The recipient is also a highly regarded member of the sorority community: she’s led a conduct board and been president of the PanHellenic Association’s governing body. This recipient’s involvement in organizations across campus shows her dedication to her fellow Dolphins and commitment to improving the JU experience. It’s no wonder she is highly regarded by faculty, administrators and peers.