The best of GW student life was celebrated in Lisner Auditorium last Wednesday night at the 27th Annual Excellence in Student Life Awards. Student leaders and administrators came together to recognize contributions made by student leaders, faculty, and staff to campus life this year with awards given in 25 categories.
The evening began with a tribute to Dr. Robert Chernak, GW's Senior Vice Provost for Student and Academic Support Services, who is retiring after 23 years of service to GW. During the opening skit, President Steven Knapp welcomed Dr. Chernak out onto the stage. Dr. Chernak was wearing a GW sports jersey, baseball hat, and a backpack as he was dressed up to look like a student. Following the skit, a video tribute was played to honor Dr. Chernak. It was also announced that the "Spark A Life Award for Staff Member of the Year" would now be named in Dr. Chernak's honor.
The awards ranged from scholarships given out for student excellence to outstanding community service and faculty member of the year. In all there were over 350 nominations for the 25 award categories.
One of the most publicized awards, "Pyramid Awards for Student Organization of the year", was given out to three student organizations. Active Minds at GWU, an organization looking to raise awareness about mental health; GW Students Against Sexual Assault; and the South Asian Society.
Some of GW's best student leaders were awarded with a "Wall of Fame Award." This award is given to students for their leadership and contribution to student life at GW over several years. They are rewarded by having a professional characterturist do a characterture of them that will be added to a wall of charactertures of student leaders over the years on the Fourth Floor of the Marvin Center. The Wall of Fame Award was given to Anthony Bellmon, Eric Guitierrez, Courtnay Oddman, Dylan Pyne, and Hugo Scheckter.
"To be a part of the Wall of Fame really brings together my four years," Oddman said. "I'm so happy GW appreciates what I've done," she added.
A live competition was also held between three student performance groups. Over the last several weeks students and the nomination committee narrowed the field down to three groups. GW RASS, an Indian Dance performing arts group; The Voice Gospel Choir; and Capital Funk, a hip hop dance group. Once all three groups performed, students texted in their vote. Near the end of the night, Capital Funk was declared the winner after dazzling the crowd with their choreography.
"We have different members of the teams choreograph and then the individuals teach the moves to the rest of the team," Christopher Kim, a Co-Captain of Capital Funk, said.
The night was organized by GW Hallmark Programs and the department was assisted by a student planning Committee. Aly Azhar, who won the Class of 2009 University Pride Award and was a member of the student committee, said the committee met weekly in the spring and ordered all the food and decorations for the post-event dessert reception held in the Marvin Center.
"This is my favorite event of the year," Azhar said. "I hope to be involved next year," he commented.