Student organizations recognized for a year’s work

Student organizations recognized for a year’s work

Illustration by Sophia Rodriguez
By Genesis Cosme

Illustration by Sophia Rodriguez

Student organizations recognized for a year’s work

By Genesis Cosme
Recognizing student-led programming and organizations for their contributions despite the turbulent year

Student organizations, their members, and leaders are reminiscing on a long, tumultuous year that began with a close-call from Hurricane Dorian and ended with a global pandemic. Throughout the fall and spring semesters, however, these student organizations engaged with their fellow ‘Canes, gave back to surrounding communities and provided us all with something to be hopeful for.

“It is still important to highlight and recognize these student organizations and student leaders and all of their contributions to the student org community,” said Mercy Lavado, associate director of Student Activities & Student Organizations. “They have worked so hard throughout the year in pursuit of their organization’s guiding principles to be positive social change agents in the UM and surrounding communities.”

With more than 300 student organizations, University of Miami students were engaged in a variety of projects and initiatives this year.

Just before the coronavirus outbreak and stay-at-home orders, the American Society of Pre-Dental Students was able to collect 177 dental hygiene items for the Miami Rescue Mission and Lotus House, two local homeless shelters.

Lucha Latina, a new student organization dedicated to empowering UM’s Latinx community created by president Dinora Orozco, hosted trips to the Redland village to volunteer in the Migrant Education Program. For its members, Lucha Latina also planned LSAT prep sessions, study breaks, and a poetry night with poet Denice Frohman.

During Banned Books Week, a week-long celebration of books started by the American Library Association, the University Community learned about the creation and history of prominent banned books. The University’s display was assembled by Sigma Tau Delta, United Black Students, EtaSigma Phi, SpectrUM, Sigma Iota Rho, and UBook.

Club sports organizations also went above and beyond this year to leave their legacy within the Federation of Club Sports (FCS). The men’s club basketball team hosted the inaugural Miami Invitational, which invited other Florida collegiate club teams to our Coral Gables campus and raised over $1,500 for the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Foundation.

The Triathlon “Tricanes” Club also held a fundraiser at the Everglades National Park to raise funds for their national championship trip and for the Florida Collegiate Triathlon Scholarship. The club raised over $6,400 and will be donating 25% of proceeds to the scholarship fund, which supports athletes who can’t afford to go to college.

“Despite the circumstances, it is extremely important to recognize these organizations for their outstanding efforts.,” said Merissa Vault, FCS advisor and assistant director of recreational sports and camp at the Herbert Wellness Center. “These clubs have gone the extra mile to represent themselves on campus and within the Miami community, amidst their academic work, practices, competitions, and other extracurricular activities. These leaders and clubs have shown the value of serving others and portray what The U really stands for.”

In keeping morale high during these uncertain times, the Committee on Student Organizations (COSO) held its annual Student Organization Achievement & Recognition (SOAR) Awardsvirtually last week with award winners announced Apr. 28-30 on social media. Student organizations and student leaders across all aspects of student life were specially selected out of over 150 nominees for their outstanding efforts during the 2019-2020 academic year.

The full list winners include:

Academic Programming Initiative: Biomedical Engineering Society

Collaborative Program of the Year: Banned Books Event (Sigma Tau Delta, United Black Students, EtaSigma Phi, SpectrUM, Sigma Iota Rho, and UBook)

Community Outreach & Social Change: Student Government What Matters to U

Intercultural Awareness Initiative: Federacion De Estudiantes Cubanos

Multifaith & Spirituality Initiative: Miami Multifaith Council (Getting to Know U)

Program of the Year: VSO Veterans Week

Advisor of the Year: Vanessa Cornwall

First-Year Leadership: Daniela Jang

President of the Year: Emilie Villaverde

Senior Legacy: Sharnikha Saravanan

Social Justice Advocate of the Year: Landon Coles

Student Leader of the Year: Michel Pinard

The David Lin Unsung Hero Award: Tia Black

Creativity & Innovation Award: HEC Hurricane Howl

Engage Super User: FEC

New Event or Initiative Award: American Society of Pre-Dental Students

New Organization of the Year: Lucha Latina

Organization of the Year: Veteran Students Organization

Spirit Award: Category 5