On Tuesday, March 12, OCAD University’s most outstanding student leaders for the academic year 2018/19 were celebrated at our annual Student Recognition awards dinner.
Coordinated by OCAD U’s Campus Life office and generously hosted in the Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers (CEAD) in their new space on the third floor of the Experiential Learning Centre in the Rosalie Sharp Pavilion, the dinner was catered by Pow Wow Café with Indigenous inspired cuisine. The dinner honoured the contributions of the university’s peer mentors, student groups and other student leaders for excellence in diversity and equity, as student employees, and Indigenous student leadership.
Emceed by Campus Life international student monitor Monica Zhong, remarks were given by the President, Dr. Sara Diamond, representatives of the Student Union and Interim Vice-President, Academic & Provost Caroline Langill. OCAD U’s student representatives on governance bodies, peer mentors, peer wellness educators in the Health & Wellness Centre, student group leaders were all acknowledged for their great work. Peer mentors Danielle Coleman, Patricia Luk, Daniel Naraindas and Kenny Tran were all recognized for serving three or more years with a special commitment pin.
Additionally, awards selected through a nominations process were given out for several categories.
Ahmad El Sarraff – Student Group Leader Award
Farah Basha and Sabid Ali of OCAD U’s Imagination Catalyst announced Ahmad as the recipient the Student Group Leader Award for his work leading OCAD U’s Muslim Student Association (MSA). This award is presented to a group leader who, through facilitation and involvement, demonstrates outstanding contributions, commitment and support to their group members and the OCAD University community.
Ahmad was recognized for his strong leadership skills and dedication to the MSA, where he has demonstrated professionalism in coordinating regular meetings with best practices like using agendas contributed to by the team. He contributed to rewriting the MSA’s constitution, coordinated various fundraisers and potlucks, and Islamophobia and bystander intervention workshops, and is noted for his patience and willingness to work with others.
Salisa Jatuweeapong and Roshan Thiruchelvam – Peer Mentor Excellence Awards
The awards were supported and presented by David Thomas of OCAD U’s Alumni Association and Sandra Janzen, Director of Alumni Relations & Annual Giving.
Salisa was recognized for her timely and effective communications, for being open to and encouraging, face-to-face meetings, for her genuine interest in getting to know mentees personally, for demonstrating knowledge and insight on curriculum, and for highlighting the benefits of community involvement as a resource leading to success.
Roshan was recognized for his patient, inclusive approach, and the wealth of knowledge and insight he shared as a mentor. He was also recognized for his caring and encouraging nature, his initiative to help mentees navigate the university, its systems and programs, and off-campus community resources.
Nora Bahgat – Diversity & Excellence Student Award
This award acknowledges an outstanding student whose advocacy and leadership promote and advance human rights, equity and social justice.
Nora was honoured for her work as a Peer Health Educator in OCAD U’s Health & Wellness Centre (HWC), where she has been involved in the Centre’s Cooking and Journaling Clubs. She has also contributed to OCAD Student Union’s Hot Lunch, where she promotes equitable access to nutritious meals, inclusive of gluten-free and vegan options. She has also held active roles with outreach events such as Willows for Wellness and the peer thesis Midnight Project. Nora consistently promotes inclusion and well-being, working towards equity and advocating for marginalized communities. Her work as a board member on the MSA included coordinating a campus workshop on Islamophobia and bystander intervention. She is dedicated to identifying barriers of inclusion and advocates for ways to make OCAD U programming more inclusive and welcoming for Muslim students and students with physical disabilities.
The award was presented to Nora by Gino Marocco and Roshan Thiruchelvam of the Student Union, with Victoria Ho from OCAD U’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Sustainability Initiatives.
Megan Feheley – Indigenous Student Leader Award
This award, presented for the first time, recognizes an outstanding Indigenous student who has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills by actively participating in and contributing to the Indigenous student community at OCAD U. Melissa General and Connor Pion from OCAD U’s Indigenous Student Centre honoured Megan as the first recipient of this new award.
Megan was honoured for their contributions as a core member of the Indigenous Students Association and deep involvement, commitment and engagement in Indigenous student event planning, community building and advocacy. Megan has contributed an immense amount of time, labour and love into the community at OCAD U, which is reflected in the many events, shows, student feasts and socials, both on and off of campus, that they have taken part in and/or organized. Megan has participated in, and/or co-organized and co-facilitated Indigenous student exhibitions (Primitive, 2016, Arrive, 2017, and Flux Refusal 2018) as well as student social events such as Creative Native Nights, Halloween parties and end of semester feasts. They have also worked as a Student Monitor at the Indigenous Student Centre, where they go above and beyond to assist with the daily upkeep of the centre, as well as supporting their peers.
Amanda Amour-Lynx received an honourable mention for the Indigenous Student Leadership Award.
Setayesh Babaei (Fatemeh) and Danielle Coleman – Student Employee Excellence Awards
Also new this year, this award acknowledges the considerable contributions made by OCAD U student employees (monitors) towards the operations of the university by recognizing student employee excellence, achievement, leadership and skills development. The first ever Student Employee Excellence Awards were presented to Setayesh Babaei (Fatemeh) and Danielle Coleman by Interim Vice-President, Academic & Provost Caroline Langill and Assistant Director of Human Resources, Connie Arezes-Reis.
Setayesh has been employed as a student monitor in various areas (Admissions, Onsite Gallery, Student Union) where she demonstrated strong dedication, commitment, professionalism and high quality work. Her imaginative creativity and ease with collaboration across disciplines have contributed to the efficiency and effectiveness of OCAD U operations and services. Her positive and enthusiastic persona, demeanour, and high level of inclusivity and respect help create a safe, friendly and encouraging environment. She is noted as a tremendous role model who embodies OCAD U’s fundamental values and themes.
Danielle is high-spirited, warm and dedicated. Approachable and knowledgeable, Danielle brings a strong sense of pride and leadership to her work and campus involvement. She has held an active position at Ignite Gallery for three years, mentoring and supporting other student monitors. She has provided support for the Drawing & Painting program Chair and student representative for Drawing & Painting Thesis. She speaks eloquently to the benefits of attending OCAD U. As Career Ambassador in the CEAD and peer mentor, she supports the success of her peers, makes connections, and supports the skill development of her classmates. Danielle’s positive attitude creates a safe space for diversity, wellness and cross-disciplinary collaboration.
Honourable mentions for the Student Employee Award for 2018/19 are Christina Castellano, Michaela Coyoli Basman Monterrubio, Melissa Gaa, Sabrina Iacono and Nomi Juhasz.
Nora Bahgat and Joel Lee – Excellence in Student Leadership Awards
Finally, this new award recognizes the outstanding contributions of student leaders across the university in a variety of contexts, including (but not limited to) representing student perspectives in positions on OCAD U committees, working groups, task forces, governance bodies (such as the Senate or Board of Governors), or through publications, advocacy groups or the Student Union. President Diamond and Deanne Fisher, Vice-Provost, Students & International awarded the final awards of the evening to Nora Bahgat and Joel Lee.
Nora was honoured for her work for her active roles as a Peer Health Educator in the HWC, the Student Union’s Hot Lunch program, her involvement in the Willows for Wellness event, her commitments as a board member for the Muslim Students Association, and her approaches to advocating for marginalized communities.
Joel is noted for his deep belief in reciprocity and commitment to sharing knowledge, contributing towards his strengths as a student leader and community member. He is involved in variety of projects, programs and services on campus. As a student monitor, he is involved in a cross-disciplinary collaboration with Writing & Learning Centre, and Editor-in-Chief of NEST literary journal, a Writing Across the Curriculum initiative. He was also a Student Career Ambassador in the CEAD, where he was instrumental in providing a student’s perspective in the creation of new tools and resources for experiential learning projects and the new Work/Place program. His dedication to advancement and community galvanizes his peers to connect and take advantage of opportunities across campus and beyond.
Honourable mentions for the Excellence in Student Leadership Award for 2018/19 are Khadija Aziz, Setayesh Babaei (Fatemeh), Uttara Ghodke and Roshan Thiruchelvam.
OCAD U’s Campus Life office extends a sincere thank you to everyone who contributed to our selection committees: Connie Arezes-Reis, Farah Basha, Lynn D’Souza, Deanne Fisher, Melissa General, Alex Hong, Amanda Hotrum, Brent Everett James, Tori Maas, Nadia McLaren, Sarah Mulholland, Robyn Shaw, Roshan Thiruchelvam, B.h. Yael and Monica Zhong.
The event would not be possible without the generous financial support of the Alumni Association, Alumni Relations, Financial Aid & Awards, the Indigenous Student Centre, the Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers, the OCAD Student Union, the Imagination Catalyst, and the offices of the President, the Vice-President, Academic & Provost, and the Vice-Provost, Students & International.
Watch for the 2019/20 academic year student recognition nominations period to open in the new year 2020, and consider nominating a student you know for these important accolades.