By Marianys Marte
The United Student Government (USG) released an amendment to the existing Beacon Exemplar Award. The amendment marks a difference in the way members of the Fordham community are recognized by this annual award.
The award, which has been a part of the USG constitution for years, recognizes the work and effort put in by the members of the Fordham community and the support that they give students.
While Senator Aaron Banasiewicz, FCRH ’18, spearheaded the process, the entire USG body worked together to pass this amendment in hopes of further connecting the student body with the faculty and staff.
“USG as a whole spearheaded the process to reintroduce this to the community,” said Assistant Dean for Student Involvement Cody Arcuri.
Prior to this amendment, only a member of the USG body could nominate a recipient. Now, all undergraduate students are encouraged to nominate any faculty or staff members who have had a positive impact on their lives at Fordham.
All nominees will be recognized for their impact on Fordham’s campus, but the award itself will be given to six individual faculty and staff members from the following departments: Academic Affairs, Faculty, Facilities, Dining Services, Public Safety and Student Life. “It is designed to be a very inclusive initiative,” Banasiewicz said.
An award is given to one member of each department mentioned above, resulting in a total of six recipients. “We defined categories to ensure a variety of staff on campus could be nominated,” said USG Vice President of Operations Douglas Spring, FCRH ’17. This was not the case prior to the amendment.
Banasiewicz reports that USG received a total of 76 nominations this year. The list of nominees will be narrowed down by a USG commission made up of one senator from each class senate. The entire USG body will then vote on the recipients.
In order to nominate someone, students must provide their contact information, the nominee’s name and department and a 250-word essay on why they think the nominee deserves to be acknowledged as a beacon.
“To me, the Beacon Exemplar Award represents an opportunity to recognize members of the community who have a lasting impact on students,” said Spring.
Banasiewicz says USG is proud to shine a light on the many beacons who make students’ experience at Fordham a positive one.
“We are men and women for others and I’ve never seen such incredible work ethic as I’ve seen on Fordham’s campus,” said Banasiewicz.
Former Beacon Exemplar Award winner Beth Knobel, associate chair of the department of communication and media studies, welcomed the more democratic process.
“I like the idea that students will have a larger voice in choosing the award winners,” said Knobel, who won the award in 2010. “And it’s particularly nice to recognize the staff, who work so very hard to keep the university running smoothly and don’t always get the credit they deserve.”
The nominees and recipients will be celebrated at the Beacon Exemplar Award Reception on Tuesday April 11th at 4:30 p.m. in Bepler Commons.