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Students get pat on the back
By Katy de Vries
The University Students' Council handed out awards yesterday afternoon to seven students who achieved academic success and contributed positively to the Western community.
"These awards are a different kind of recognition," said Perry Monaco, VP-campus issues and chair of the student awards committee. "Instead of being recognized by a corporation or the university itself, the candidates are recognized by their peers this is the biggest benefit for the recipients."
The candidates nominated themselves by submitting an essay describing their involvement in five designated categories, Monaco explained. The categories included student government, academics, athletics, music/dance or fine arts and philanthropy.
Monaco said each category was weighted equally and this year's recipients were the most well–rounded of all the applicants. "The choice was very difficult. There were so many people who have done some amazing things." The awards were open to all students and were well advertised, he added.
There were two different awards presented at the ceremony. The Future of Western award was given to two first-year students, one male and one female, who performed exceptionally well in at least two of the designated areas. This award was given to Ruby Dhand and Yet Wo Loo.
"Receiving this award is really encouraging and will motivate me to become more involved in my future years here at Western," said Dhand, who was heavily involved with her residence council at Elgin Hall.
The second honour was the Student Award of Merit, which was given to five upper-year students who fulfilled at least three of the same requirements. The winners were fourth-year honours business administration and engineering student Joel Adams, second-year social sciences student Sabrina Anzini, fourth-year media, information and technoculture student Michael Gelfand, third-year science and scholars elective student Graham Heaton and third-year social sciences student Najeeb Shafiq.
Monaco said it was a coincidence that each recipient was in some way involved with student government. "Student government and academics were the two most common categories to each applicant. It is difficult to find a deserving student for these awards who is not involved with student government in some way," he said.
Loo said this would be a confidence–builder, but noted the awards could have been made more open to students. "It could have been publicized more, I would not have heard about it if it had not been for the USC announcements at first-year caucus meetings."
President of Western's legal society, Michael Rubinoff, said the awards were a good way to acknowledge outstanding students. "It is very important to recognize student achievement," he said.