Posted April 27, 2016
Six students at UW-River Falls have been honored with the 2016 Chancellor’s Award for Students.
The Chancellor’s Award for Students serves as recognition of UWRF students who have made significant non-academic contributions to the university. To be nominated, participants must be an upper-class or graduate student, must have good academic standing, and must have demonstrated service to the university and exceptional leadership skills, according to the university website.
The recipients for the 2016 Chancellor’s Award are Mohammad Battah, Jessica (JJ) Knapp, Marie-Morella Kponou, Angela Ludvigsen, Madeleine Pemberton and Emma Sweet.
Beth Schommer, executive assistant to the chancellor and chair of the Chancellor’s Awards selection committee, said that 19 students were nominated for this award, and through the nomination and interview process, it was difficult to narrow down all the recipients’ applications to announce the finalists.
“To get that many nominations and really see all of the amazing things that our students are doing, it’s just such an uplifting and wonderful project to be involved in,” said Schommer. “I think they are wonderful, we got six really great recipients this year.”
Schommer said that no two years are the same when it comes to the kind of students who receive this award, but this year has stood out because two of the recipients, Knapp and Sweet, have served the university by focusing on LGBTQ+ issues.
“To have two students who are serving our campus community through their commitment to sort of the same types of topics was interesting, and I think personally wonderful,” said Schommer.
Sweet is a senior biology and Spanish double major and co-chair of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance. In her three years at UWRF, she has also been involved in Residence Life, the Student Feminist Organization, Hall Council, and the Sexual Assault Coalition.
Nominated by one of her professors, Sweet said that she was overwhelmed with emotion when she heard that she had received the Chancellor’s Award.
“It was incredibly powerful. I mean even the nomination itself was a big deal to me, so winning the award was just incredible,” said Sweet. “I lost my breath for a minute and was like I can’t believe this has happened.”
Although Sweet only has a few weeks left as a student at UWRF, she said that she will not soon forget all of the memories she has made being part of student organizations. One of her fondest memories comes from organizing the drag shows that are hosted once a semester at UWRF.
“We go through all this work to make them happen and we’re very, very stressed out and then the shows are always an overwhelming success,” said Sweet, who said every time they are surprised that the event is pulled off and didn’t fall apart.
Schommer said that the Chancellor’s Award for Students accurately displays the university’s mission statement to produce engaged, committed citizens and that it is important to recognize and encourage students who become involved in the non-academic side of UWRF.
“That’s what this award really tries to speak to, is that demonstration that even here on campus our students are showing that they’re going to go out into this world and be wonderful citizens,” said Schommer.
A reception to honor the recipients of the Chancellor’s Award for Students was scheduled Thursday evening in the Riverview Ballroom in the University Center.
The article may be found online at https://uwrfjournalism.org/2016/04/uw-river-falls-names-six-students-to-2016-chancellors-award/.