Meet the 2022 Student Organization Award Winners
At any university—let alone an online one like UMGC—it can be difficult to find the time to join a student organization. But the students who do become active in an organization often find that it can be a worthwhile investment. This year, UMGC is giving out three awards to recognize the groups and members for their outstanding contributions to building community and providing meaningful student experiences.
Student Organization of the Year
History Student Society
The History Student Society, a student organization for history enthusiasts, engaged its members throughout the year with a variety of events and discussions. The group is led by a team of student and alumni officers: Connor Brown, Heather Downing, Kristin Jones, Jeffrey Landers, Emilie B. Osterfeld, Gary Rhodan, Stephanie Rodriguez, Ashley Ross, Hailey Sanchez, Sarah Shuss-Taylor, and Faculty Advisor Danielle Mead Skjelver, PhD. Together, these leaders meet monthly to discuss and research ideas for the club. Because of their commitment, the group held over a dozen activities in a year and maintained the virtual community’s discussion platform.
History Student Society events that took place in the past year include research presentations, an exploration of career paths in history, and the sharing of experiences with the graduate school process. The largest event was a collaborative effort with the Extreme History Project of Montana. Some events allowed members to ask questions of guest presenters, while others were more informal facilitated discussions.
“The UMGC History Student Society provided a much-needed connection during the pandemic, a social lifeline for members in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North, South, and Central America,” said Dr. Skjelver. “The History Student Society officers and members symbiotically model best practices for and inspire each other to learn from the past and change the future.”
It is the passion and dedication of the History Student Society leaders and members that enabled the group to win this award.
Students and other members of the UMGC community can join the History Student Society for free through the History Student Society virtual group inside CareerQuest or can learn of upcoming events through the History Café Facebook group.
Student Organization Member Award
Najila Ahsan, Environmental Awareness Club
As an undergraduate student majoring in Environmental Management, Najila Ahsan demonstrates how a student can take advantage of what a club offers. Najila was an active participant in the monthly webinars offered by the Environmental Awareness Club and attended events outside of UMGC that were promoted within the group’s virtual discussion board. After attending many of the club’s webinars, Najila volunteered to help with future events. She co-organized the April Earth Day Workshop with Dr. Sabrina Fu, the faculty advisor of the club. Najila is currently planning a Green Building tour in Baltimore, MD for club members, which will be held in June.
Taking advantage of the opportunities promoted in the Environmental Awareness Club has helped Najila network in her field of interest. At a local Citizens Climate Lobby conference, she was able to connect with Bowie State University administrators and was invited to their “Climate Careers” event, where she interviewed for prospective positions and was ultimately offered an internship.
Best-in-Show Activities and Events Award
Earth Day Online Workshop: Investing in the Planet and Each Other, Environmental Awareness Club
For Earth Day 2022, the Environmental Awareness Club held a workshop, “Investing in the Planet and Each Other,” that encouraged members of the UMGC community to come and share the connections that mattered to them regarding nature and the planet. Prior to the event, registrants were asked to share pictures of nature, which were included in a video set to background music to kick-off the workshop. To encourage participation, the club used breakout rooms so that attendees could chat in smaller groups of 3-4 people. Each breakout room had either a student leader or a faculty member lead their group through open-ended questions that allowed each member to participate and contribute to the discussion. Overall, it was a great event that brought students, staff, and faculty together to connect over a shared purpose and provided students with the opportunity to take a leadership role.
Members of the UMGC community can join the Environmental Awareness Club for free by joining the Environmental Awareness virtual group in CareerQuest.
Congratulations to the 2022 Awardees, and thanks to all the student organizations for another year of programming and making connections!