By Sarah Pinkerton | Staff Writer
With all its changes and differences, the spring 2020 semester is coming to a close. With that comes the annual Excellence in Student Leadership Awards ceremony. This year it will be hosted as a livestream from 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m Friday.
Typically held on the last day of the spring semester, the event allows different departments within student life, alongside student government, to nominate individuals within their organizations for awards in leadership and service.
Craig Willie, associate director of student activities for student involvement, said that since the event is now online, he feels it will be much more accessible to different people who may want to join.
“More organizations may have more members participating, which we’ll hear more great stories, and maybe parents are jumping in too to see if their son or daughter or student’s organization wins an award,” Willie said. “It really is getting a chance to make sure people are aware of what happens in and around our community.”
A variety of different speakers will be presenting during the online event. Representatives from each department will present their awards and guest speakers. Baylor President Dr. Linda Livingstone and the Vice President of Student Life Dr. Kevin P. Jackson will deliver messages as well.
“One of the things we’ve found is that we want to connect with the familiar and so rather than having one person recite all the award winners, it’s great to have a representative,” Willie said.
Willie said that by the different departments coming together for one ceremony, they can celebrate as a larger collective on campus.
“The different departments that are coming together host their awards that they would typically hand out and by coming together, what that allows us to do, is it allows us to make more people aware of the great stories and leadership and service,” Willie said.
Student activities and campus programs will be giving out five awards such as Union Board Member of the Year, Student Productions Outstanding Producer, Baylor Activities Council Growth Award and more.
In addition, organizations such as campus living and learning, student government, multicultural affairs, academy of leader development, community engagement and service, student foundation, wellness and student involvement will be giving out awards.
Van Smith-Davis, assistant director of wellness, fitness and nutrition, said that the award recipients for the wellness department have excelled in their tasks throughout the semester but have also stepped it up especially throughout COVID-19.
“They were all already deserving of all of the awards,” Smith–Davis said. “They were at the top of the game, they have been the best instructors and trainers but when COVID-19 hit us, all of these individuals were the first ones to volunteer.”
Smith-Davis has also been on the committee for this ceremony and while the awards aren’t always given to seniors, she said that the event is a great way to say thank you to outgoing senior students.
“The positive impact that we have had on campus is not anything that I’m doing,” Smith-Davis said. “It’s because of these individuals who have been so incredible.”
Willie said that student life strongly contributes to the education that students experience at Baylor and while the different departments provide many opportunities, the students are the ones putting in the work and learning lessons along the way.
“We have the privilege as departments and professionals who work closely with students and we see so many great stories every day,” Willie said. “It’s awesome to get to bring those stories to light and we’d love for people to know how many great ambassadors that Baylor has through their student body and certainly through our faculty staff advisors as well.”
To watch the event live, visit the Baylor student leadership website.