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2017 Residence Life End of Year Banquet

Celebrating the department’s accomplishments after another successful year, Rutgers Residence Life hosted its annual End of the Year Banquet at the Heldrich Hotel on Sunday, Apr. 23.

Bringing together nearly 400 members of Residence Life’s student, graduate, and professional staff, the awards luncheon began with opening remarks from Vice Chancellor of Students Affairs, Dr. Felicia McGinty.

Prior to announcing its departmental honors, Residence Life awarded commencement stoles to its graduating student staff members. Following dinner, the program continued with the Residence Life departmental awards before closing remarks from Executive Director of Residence Life, Dan Morrison. A complete listing and description of the department awards and winners can be found below:

Undergraduate Staff Awards

Leroy Haines Award - Cherylynn Finklin

Awarded to an RA or AA who best exemplifies the character and persona of Leroy Haines. Leroy Haines reduced prejudice, promoted respect for diversity, created inclusive communities, and forged intercultural collaboration among groups that had not traditionally worked together throughout his 43 year career on the Livingston Campus. As a student, a student employee, Resident Assistant, an alumnus, Resident Coordinator, Assistant Dean/Director of Residence Life for Livingston College and finally Livingston Campus Director, he has come to embody Livingston’s original motto of “Strength through Diversity”.  He always challenged the members of his residential communities to live together in order to learn together. For his devotion to Livingston and its generation of students, staff, and faculty, he received one of the University’s highest honors, the Human Dignity Award.

Commitment to Social Justice Award - Anusha Reddy

This award recognizes a staff member who serves as an example to others through a commitment to diversity and social justice beyond the scope of their student responsibilities were. This RA/AA has demonstrated their compassion, perseverance, courage, and leadership by engaging in the difficult work of fostering human dignity and our common humanity through their projects, programs, and visions.

Spirit of Rutgers Award - Cecilia Salazar

This award recognizes a staff member who possesses qualities of a Scarlet Knight and demonstrates Rutgers pride in their work. Determination of the award will be based on innovation, creativity, originality, and ingenuity displayed throughout work within residence hall communities and overall department.

RA/AA Rookie of the Year

Cook/Douglass – Alana Chmiel
College Avenue – Jonathan St. Ange
Livingston – Steve Wynen
Busch – Hsiu-Fen Lin

This award is given to an outstanding first year staff member who demonstrates growth and improvement as they have developed in the position resulting in exemplary work in all aspects of the RA/AA staff position that is equal to or exceeds the level of a more seasoned staff person. This person will have exceptional programming skills, a strong connection to their residents and a dedication to the department. This person will have gone above and beyond the minimum job responsibilities, excels as a team player, demonstrates enthusiasm, is innovative, serves as role model, and fosters a strong sense of community in their building. This person goes above and beyond in showing care and concern for residents during crisis or conflict situations.

RA/AA of the Year

Cook/Douglass – Tiara Youngblood
College Avenue – Emily Ryan
Livingston – Lindsay Jeffers
Busch – Joanna Stanton

This award is given to an outstanding returning staff member who has gone above and beyond their job responsibilities and role, demonstrates a positive attitude, supports their team, develops a strong sense of community, and supports departmental goals. This person will have exceptional programming skills, a strong connection to their residents and a dedication to the department. This person will have gone above and beyond the minimum requirements, excelling as a team player, showing enthusiasm, is innovative, acts as role model, and fosters a strong sense of community in their building. This person goes above and beyond in showing care and concern for residents during crisis or conflict situations.

Graduate Staff Awards

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Spirit of Rutgers Award - Shane Guinan

This award will recognizes a staff member who possesses qualities of a Scarlet Knight and demonstrates Rutgers pride in their work. Determination of the award will be based on innovation, creativity, originality, and ingenuity displayed throughout work within residence hall communities and overall department.

Graduate Assistant of the Year - Christopher Santiago

This will be awarded to an outstanding returning graduate staff member who has gone above and beyond in their job responsibilities and role to support their work within the department. They are consistently reliable, helpful, creative, and serve as a great role model for both students and peers. Determination of this award will be based on this staff member’s involvement within the department and their ability to build relationships and collaborate with others within the department and/or division.

Graduate Rookie of the Year - James Forrester

This will be awarded to an outstanding first-year graduate staff member who has gone above and beyond their minimum job requirements to support their work within the department. They are consistently reliable, helpful, creative, and serve as a great role model for both students and peers by embracing opportunities to learn and grow in their position. Determination of this award will be based on this staff member’s involvement within the department and their ability to build relationships and collaborate with others within the department and/or division.

Outstanding Program Awards

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Outstanding Community Program - 2016-2017 Quad 2 Resident Assistant Staff

The “Outstanding Community Program” award is presented to the program planner(s) who excelled in planning a “Community Program,” one which encouraged active participation in one’s residence hall and campus community through common interests and shared experiences as well as exposed students to campus resources and student services. The program should have had active participation and made a positive impact on the community.

Outstanding Academic Program - Sweta Patel

The “Outstanding Academic Program” award is presented to the program planner(s) who excelled in planning an “Academic Program”, one which promoted scholastic achievement and skill development connected to academic and curricular growth. The program should have had active participation and made a positive impact on the community.

Outstanding Responsibility Program - Chris Kumar, Danna Alemeida, & Pearl Lariza

The “Outstanding Responsibility Program” award is presented to the program planner(s) who excelled in planning a “Responsibility Program”, one which informed students about the community-based impact of their choices as well as promoted the benefits of active civic engagement. The program should have had active participation and made a positive impact on the community.

Outstanding Equity Program - Dionne Higginbotham

The “Outstanding Equity Program” award is presented to the program planner(s) who excelled in planning an “Equity Program”, one that fostered a welcoming environment through personal exploration and interpersonal interactions that respected and affirmed the inherent dignity, value, and uniqueness of all individuals and communities. The program should have had active participation and made a positive impact on the community.

Outstanding Self-Efficacy Program - Aelana Freeman

The “Outstanding Self-Efficacy Program” award is presented to the program planner(s) who excelled in planning a “Self-Efficacy” program, one that exposed residents to information and resources that support informed decision-making regarding critical community issues such as alcohol and other drug use, campus safety, and wellness. The program should have had active participation and made a positive impact on the community.

Peer Mentor and Academic Leader Awards

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Outstanding Service by an Academic Leader - Liya Johnson

This award is given to an Academic Leader who exceeds the minimum job requirements by consistently displaying a high level of skill, enthusiasm, motivation and initiative.  This individual supports not only their students, but their fellow staff members (RA/AAs, peer mentors, academic leaders), as well as building/departmental goals.

Educational Peer Mentor Program of the Year - Melissa James and Jada Anderson

This award will be given to the individual peer mentor or group who has created, developed, and implemented an outstanding, creative, educational program, that has engaged residents and positively impacted the residential community (floor or building), thereby furthering the goals of Residence Life. Ideally, the program would involve the assistance of residents in the planning and/or facilitation of the program, but this is not mandatory.

Outstanding Service by a Peer Mentor - Robert Huseby

This award is given to a peer mentor who exceeds the minimum job requirements by consistently displaying a high level of skill, enthusiasm, motivation and initiative.  This individual supports not only their residents, but their fellow staff members (RA/AAs, peer mentors, academic leaders), as well as building/departmental goals.

Outstanding Inclusive Community Builder - Victoria Cilurzo

This award is given to a peer mentor that has excelled at fostering the spirit of inclusivity within their community, engendering pride, recognizing others’ talents and abilities, and positively impacting the development of students through the creation of a positive environment.  Within this environment, students feel that they are not only a part of the community and feel a sense of ownership and investment in their own experiences, but a sense of ownership and investment in the experiences of others.

Outstanding Collaborative Effort - Shannon Sy and Laura Marchoff

This award is given to a peer mentor who has shown a commitment to enhancing student experiences by intentionally collaborating with University faculty and/or staff in an effort to connect students with University resources and personnel.

Professional Staff and Campus Partner Awards

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Outstanding Campus Partner Award - Department of Leadership and Experiential Learning

This will be awarded to an organization, department or staff member that demonstrates superior support to the residence life staff and department. They promote a positive environment and encourages collaboration. This campus partner contributes to the Residence Life mission and has played a vital part in our work with students. This award would be presented to a campus partner(s) that have served as a great resource, collaborator and support to Resident Assistants, Graduate Staff and or Professional Staff and the residential communities they serve.

Professional Staff Member of the Year Award - Sabrina LoBue

The nominee for this award is a professional staff member in the Department of Residence Life. They demonstrate their dedication to their position by exceeding the expectations and contributions to the department and to the housing profession. They have shown the ability to positively impact the lives of their students and staff, support and encourage the residents of our campuses, contribute positively to the department, and live out the mission of residence life.

Appreciation and Recognition Committee

The Rutgers Residence Life End of the Year Banquet was planned and hosted by the department’s Appreciation and Recognition Committee. Special thanks to: Ayanna Winters, Courtland James, James Forrester, Michele Lam-Fortes, Sabrina LoBue, Amy Liss, Ryan Nolen, Jodi Sandler-Ogen, Allie Triglianos, Rachael Padula.