Vice Chancellor for Student Life Vincent Carilli, as well as the staff at the Division of Student Life, gathered in the Student Union ballroom to recognize some outstanding faculty and students, as well as their achievements during their duration here at UT.
This year, there were more than 20 awards that were given out to some students and faculty members that were nominated. Anyone from the university was encouraged to nominate someone who they thought deserved to be recognized and from there, the nominations went to a panel of judges, who chose the winner or winners in for each award.
Some of the awards were for “New Staff Member” and “Staff Member of the Year,” “Large and Small Student Organizations,” “Leadership” and “Student Organization of the Year.”
Sara Dunphy, the medical administrative assistant for Student Health Services on campus, said that there are a lot of staff and students at the Division of Student Life and that it is important to highlight some of their accomplishments while they were here at UT.
“The Division of Student Life is home to hundreds of staff members and graduate assistants, as well as student leaders,” Dunphy said. “This year, we hope to recognize the accomplishments of our students and staff.”
Many of the awards had multiple winners, such as the “Student Organization of the Year.” This year, it went to the Latin American Student Organization and Advocates for Autism.
The winner of the “Small Student Organization of the Year” went to the Diversity Educators for their efforts in raising awareness for diversity and inclusion. The award for “Large Student Organization of the Year” went to Society of Women Engineers and VOLthon for their achievements of providing their members with a sense of belonging.
One of the most meaningful awards was for “Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion.” This year’s winner was Hall Director Brandon Harris, who said that diversity and inclusion is something that he values both personally as well as professionally, and that he couldn’t help but think of his parents as he received the award because they “instilled love, care, and passion” in him.
“Receiving this award from the Division of Student Life means that there are members of this community seeing the work that I am contributing to our student body and the institution,” Harris said. “It also means that I am being valued as a queer, black staff member who is spiritual of The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.”
Harris also went on to thank the Division of Student Life as well as those who have supported him endlessly.
“I do consider myself an advocate, accomplice, and an ally,” Harris said. “I want to continue the work that I do for the field of higher education and within my communities. Thank you to the Division of Student Life, University Housing, and my nominator, I wouldn’t receive this award without your support.”
The Student Life Awards are an annual event on campus and everyone is encouraged to make nominations so that more faculty and students, as well as organizations, can be recognized for all that they do and accomplish here at UT.