by Chonce Maddox
This year, students themselves were able to take nominations into their own hands and choose candidates for the various awards.
The Student Choice Awards will honor several students and recognize their outstanding contributions to student organizations, Greek organizations, NIU athletic teams and acts of activism throughout the NIU community. The President’s Award will be presented to an exceptional faculty member chosen by SA President Jack Barry.
Two private awards will be introduced to the ceremony this year. The Eli Whitney Award of Excellence will be selected by Off-Campus and Non-Traditional Student Services. The Steven Agee II Award, in honor of the NIU senior who died in 2011, will be selected by his family.
Even though new awards have been added, Derrick Martin, director of Student Life and coordinator for the Student Choice Awards, said the overall amount has decreased this year.
“Last year, there were several different awards. This year, the SA lowered the amount of awards to focus more on properly acknowledging students as opposed to just giving out tons of awards,” Martin said.
Martin said the Student Association has at least 60 applications to look through this year.
When reviewing applications, the SA will base its decisions heavily on the 500-word essays explaining why the applicants deserve the awards and how their credentials fit the specific categories.
“Factors like the candidate’s cumulative GPA and significant contributions to their organization will also be considered,” Martin said, “but we are really looking forward to their explanation as to why they feel they are the best recipient for the award.”
The Student Choice Awards will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, April 14, in the Duke Ellington Ballroom of the Holmes Student Center. The event is formal, free and open to the entire campus.
This event is part of Celebrating Excellence at NIU, scheduled from April 12 through May 1. Celebrating Excellence highlights the accomplishments and contributions of NIU students, faculty, staff and alumni to the university’s mission of promoting excellence and engagement in teaching and learning, research and scholarship, creativity and artistry, and outreach and service during the academic year.