Dozens of students, faculty members, campus clubs and advisors were recognized for “thinking outside the classroom” on May 2 during the seventh annual Global Citizenship Awards, hosted by Brookdale’s Global Citizenship Project, The International Education Center and the Office of Student Life and Activities.
The program recognized four clubs and more than 20 students for performing research, writing course papers, volunteering their time and serving as activists for a wide range of national and international causes throughout the 2016-17 school year.
“This is one of the highlights of our academic year,” said International Education Center director and awards ceremony emcee Janice Thomas, addressing a capacity crowd of honorees, family and friends in the Student Life Center.
“We are just so amazed at the talent and the intellectual growth that our students display each year… The Global Citizenship Project is much more than just raising awareness about an issue. As you will see and hear tonight, our students have moved from awareness to engagement, to becoming involved and becoming activists in things they are really passionate about.”
Throughout the evening, individual students presented on the research, essays and projects that had earned them a 2017 Student Curricular Award. From Erin Cotterell’s research into hunger and malnutrition in central Africa to Barrett Teachworth’s outreach work with the Visiting Nurse Association at the Jersey Shore, the presentations were as varied as they were inspiring. View the full list of Student Curricular Award Recipients here.
Graphic design major and 2017 graduate Gaetano Jones was also recognized as Brookdale’s first ever student to graduate with Global Citizenship Distinction, a new commencement honor bestowed on students who demonstrate “exceptional engagement in global issues” throughout their time at Brookdale. While the initiative is designed to cover three or more semesters of a student’s education, Jones was able to complete the program in less than a year.
“It’s really been an amazing experience,” Jones said. “When I first came to Brookdale two years ago, I was a very close-minded kind of person. I did what I had to do, and I didn’t do any more. In my second semester I took a course in environmental studies, and that’s what really opened my mind to this idea that there was more to education than just getting credits.
“By the next semester I found myself applying and enrolling in the Honors Program here, and shortly after enrolling in the Global Citizenship Distinction program. It’s truly changed me. It’s encouraged me to be more open minded, more world-focused. There’s just so much in the world that we can focus on, things we really can accomplish. It’s really just put me out there more, and for that I’m grateful.”
Student Club Awards were also presented to Brookdale’s International Students Association, Students for Global Citizenship Club, The TIN Project Team and Dreamers+, each of whom had gone above and beyond in the service of their classmates, their college and their communities.
“Our club started as an idea to form a community for undocumented students and immigrant students to support each other, whether it be in school or at home,” said Dreamers+ president and cofounder Monica Urena. “Due to the political climate, we’ve really come around and done a lot of activist work, especially in Red Bank, where a lot of us come from.”
Dreamers+ members including Daysi Arevalo, Jose Montealegue and Brenda Codallos joined Urena and dozens of local community members in a widely publicized effort to establish Red Bank as an “inclusive community” this spring, a measure which the borough council passed in April.
“It was mostly symbolic, but I know for a lot of our families and members of the community, it meant a lot,” Urena said. “I’m just really thankful for everyone who I’ve met through this journey of getting more exposure and getting more involved in the community. I did not think that was going to happen… And I’m really thankful for everything that we’ve done.”
The 2017 Outstanding Educator Award was presented to history instructor Ashley Zampogna-Krug, who mentored two of the evening’s Student Curricular Award Winners and serves as faculty advisor to Dreamers+. The 2017 Outstanding Service Award was presented to academic writing tutor Sheri Stanford, a long-standing advocate for Brookdale study abroad programs and chair of the Elaine Baran Scholarship Committee, which awards scholarships to students who wish to study abroad.
The 2017 Global Citizenship Awards were co-hosted by English instructor Kelsey Maki, who serves as faculty liaison to the International Education Center.
During the ceremony, Global Citizenship Project members also announced their new theme for the 2017 to 2019 school years: “Immigrants and Refugees.”
Learn more about the Global Citizenship Project and how to get involved here.
Check out more photos of the 2017 Global Citizenship Awards here.