Night of Distinction celebrates student excellence

As part of Honors Day weekend, Night of Distinction was held Sunday, May 5 to recognize and award the leadership, service, and achievement of individual students, groups and organizations. Groups that received recognition at Night of Distinction included: Student Conduct Board, Peer Assistants, Ambassadors, Fraternities and Sororities, Center for Servant Leadership, Gustie Greeters, Diversity Center, Collegiate Fellows, and Student Senate.

Sophomore Biochemistry Major Daniel Ly is a first-year CF in Norelius, and he sees the position of a Collegiate Fellow as a unique form of leadership that merits this type of recognition.

“Being a Collegiate Fellow involves interpreting and enforcing College policy and planning events to foster community. It is a unique form of leadership that involves both establishing connections and utilizing management skills,” Ly said.

First-year Mata Agre attended Night of Distinction as a member of the Servant Leadership Program and participant in its Apprentice program.

Leadership organizations and programs, such as Gusties in Ongoing Leadership Development (G.O.L.D.) and the Servant Leadership Program (SLP) were recognized for participation and completion of these programs. Members of G.O.L.D. were presented with certificates of completion of the three leadership tracks of Self Leadership, Servant Leadership, and Exemplary Leadership. Members of SLP were presented with certificates honoring their service and leadership in one of the three divisions, as a SLP Apprentice, Partner, or Ambassador. The Schwalm-Brostrom Leadership in Service Award was given to Megan Maricle-Roberts and Tristan Richards for their work with Habitat for Humanity, and 11 students were awarded Nancy Pautz Leadership Awards sponsored by the Center for Servant Leadership.

“Night of Distinction is a great way to honor those leaders on campus that may not otherwise be recognized,” Agre said.

Other awards honoring individual leadership, service, and achievement included the Holly M. Bunn and Gregory D. Swenson Scholarship, the Ovanlig Award, the Minnesota Campus Compact Presidents’ Awards for Civic Engagement, and the Paul Magnuson Student Leadership and Service Awards.

“It was really inspirational to see all the people that were recognized for different leadership opportunities on campus,” Agre said.

The Holly M. Bunn and Gregory D. Swenson Scholarship was awarded to Sophomore Communications Studies Major Danielle Cabrera, who was selected by the Bunn and Swenson families upon the recommendation of the Dean of Students on the basis of scholarship, significant activities, and service to the College.

The Ovanlig Award was awarded to Junior Music Major Tristan Fernstrom to recognize his “demonstrated leadership in raising campus awareness of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender rights and concerns.” He is an active member of Queers and Allies and has participated in the E Pluribus show.

The Minnesota Campus Compact Presidents’ Awards for Civic Engagement Student Leadership Award recognizes a student “that models deep commitment to civic responsibility and leadership.” This award was presented to Senior Sociology and Anthropology and Psychological Science Honors Major Katelyn Warburton. Warburton is a Peer Assistant and recently received a Coca Cola Educational Partnership Grant for her proposal, “Be the Light,” a project to purchase more light boxes for student use on campus. There are currently light boxes available in the library to help treat depression associated with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

There were three categories of the Paul Magnuson Student Leadership and Service Awards: student organizations, student events, and student leaders. The student-led worship team, Revive, received the student organization award for their work to foster community and encourage faith at Gustavus by leading comtemporary-style worship services. African Night and The Sex Show, performed by I Am We Are, received the award for outstanding student events. The Paul Magnuson Award for student leaders was awarded to Alex Christensen, Josh Connell, Lindsey Hjelm, Claudia Martinez, Tasha Ostendorf, Jasmine Porter, and Katelyn Warburton.