Student leadership celebrated

Cody Boyer

Northern Michigan University students, faculty and staff received honors last week at the 27th Annual Leadership Recognition Banquet, including awards such as Organization of the Year, Adviser of the Year and various scholarships.

On Thursday, April 17, the Leadership Banquet hosted over 600 NMU students and staff from organizations and projects across campus to honor leadership roles at the university. During the banquet, 23 awards were given, ranging from individual awards and scholarships to awards encompassing organizations and projects completed in groups.

Lizzie Corser, graduate assistant at Academic Service Learning and Leadership Banquet committee member, said the event’s tradition of picking a theme for the banquet held true this year. Corser also said the people invited to the banquet fit the theme.

“This year’s theme was the ‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’ quote by Mary Oliver,” Corser said. “The banquet is designed around that theme and, every year, the theme is selected around a quote that is related to leadership.”

Senior Shavon Harris,  who has been involved as the Vice President of French Club, treasurer of All Nations Club, prayer coordinator for Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, received all four Superior Edges and completed the Student Leader Fellowship Program, was the Master of Ceremonies for the banquet, while senior multimedia journalism major Emily Stulz was selected as the student keynote speaker.

Corser said Stulz’ keynote speech was precisely what the event coordinators were looking for after she was selected from 11 applicants.

“[Emily] did a fantastic job,” Corser said. “Her speech was really engaging, reflective and really what we are looking for in the Leadership Recognition Banquet. She talked a lot about some of the challenges of obstacles that students go through throughout their time at Northern. [Her speech] really culminated in an inspirational message.”

Stulz said being a leader at NMU and delivering the keynote speech will be something she carries with her as she prepares to leave NMU.

“I think it gives me a better understanding of what it takes to not only write a speech, but actually prepare it to address a large group,” Stulz said. “I also feel, now, that I can really take into mind that even though I have had many experiences during my time here at Northern, there are so many more to come.”

Senior public relations major Joshua Garnett won the “Spirit of Diversity” Award and the ALLIES Scholarship. Garnett said the award is presented to the student whom the Associate Director of the Multicultural Education and Resource Center feels embodies the caring diverse spirit Northern strives for.

“I had no idea I was being considered for the award until after Shirley Brozzo (associate director of the multicultural education resource center) had made her decision,” Garnett said. “I was shocked. I am so honored and humbled to be selected this year. There are so many terrific students at NMU who work every day to make this university a better place. I had a sense of that at the banquet, listening to all of the amazing things that other Wildcats have accomplished this year. So to be chosen for this award is truly amazing.”

Senior marketing major and NMU student supervisor of promotions Sara Hujar won the Michael D. Nunnally Individual Student Volunteer Award. According to the USOEC headquarters at NMU,  the award was created in the honor of Michael Nunnally, a former NMU student and USOEC athlete who drowned in Lake Superior in 1996.

While other individual students were awarded scholarships and awards, including four who were given Board of Trustees Student Achievement Awards and six who were awarded Graduating Leadership scholarships, student groups and group leaders were also recognized at the banquet.

The Organization of the Year award for a university or Student Activity Fee-funded organization went to Primetime Productions, while the general Organization of the Year award went to NMU’s Relay for Life. Other groups to take away awards included the Culinary Students of NMU, who won Program of the Year with their Memorial Chili Challenge, and the Pre-Veterinary Club, who won the Community Service Award.

Michael Joy, associate professor and adviser of the NMU Quiz Bowl team, was awarded the Adviser of the Year Award. Joy said it was a shock for his organization to put his name on the ballot, but the students deserve it.

“Not too many people know about the Quiz Bowl,” Joy said. “It was a complete surprise. They hadn’t told me that they had nominated me. I was very excited and pleased because I really think it is an organization that is worthy of recognition. Every single time [we play], it makes me very proud.”

Stulz said to be recognized as a student leader at NMU, like so many others attending the banquet, was an award, in itself.

“It was a phenomenal experience,” Stulz said. “It was so wonderful to get to have the opportunity to be such a big part of something that has been an important marker during my own time here at Northern.”