Clemson University Muslim Students Association members invite students, faculty and staff to participate in World Hijab Day on Feb. 3, 2020. The MSA was named Undergraduate Student Organization of the Year by Student Affairs.

Members of the Muslim Students Association invited students, faculty and staff to participate in World Hijab Day on Feb. 3, 2020. The Muslim Students Association was named Undergraduate Student Organization of the Year by the Division of Student Affairs.
Image Credit: Clemson University Relations

The Division of Student Affairs honored outstanding students and organizations for the 2019-20 academic year virtually during the week of April 20-24. The award winners were announced on the Student Affairs Instagram account each day.

“Congratulations are in order to all of these outstanding students and organizations,” said Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Chris Miller. “Each individual and group has made an impact on the Clemson experience in a unique way and we cannot thank them enough for their contributions to the university community.”

Almeda R. Jacks Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award

Presented in honor of Clemson’s former vice president for Student Affairs. It is given to the best “all around” junior or senior who upholds Clemson’s core values, maintains high scholarly achievement and who shows a cross-section of involvement in university departments, clubs or organizations.

2019-20 recipient: Jennifer Cabezas

  • Senior microbiology major
  • Past president of the Latinos Unidos at Clemson University (LUCU)
  • Currently mentors LUCU executive board, serves on the Commission on Latino Affairs, undergraduate teaching assistant with the Clemson Light Imaging Facility and is a mentor within the College of Science
  • On track to graduate in May 2020

Walter T. Cox Graduate Student Award

Presented in memory of the 10th university president and longtime vice president for Student Affairs. It is given to a first-year graduate student employed by the Division of Student Affairs. The recipient must show ongoing excellence as a member of the community through his or her leadership, support of the holistic academic experience and commitment to diversity and acceptance.

2019-20 recipient: Andrew Raposo

  • First-year graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in counselor education with an emphasis in student affairs
  • Graduate assistant in the Center for Student Leadership and Engagement
  • Advises student programming board, TigerLive Entertainment
  • Participated in Alternative Break Program in Fall 2019 and is a member of the Survivor Summit committee, which advocates for survivors of sexual assault

R.C. Edwards Outstanding Graduate Student Award

Presented in memory of the longtime president best known for leading Clemson from an all-male military college to a major coeducational and integrated university. It is given to the best “all around” graduate student with high scholarly achievement and someone who contributes to the Clemson community through leadership in university and/or community organizations.

2019-20 recipient: Bridget Blood

  • Pursuing a Ph.D. in forest resources
  • Has co-chaired Graduate Student Government’s travel grants committee, which distributes roughly $190,000 per year to graduate students participating in professional events
  • Secured a $20,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service to study shortleaf pine in January 2020
  • Co-teaches the Invasion Ecology Creative Inquiry, which leads undergraduates into the field to conduct real-world research about invasive plant species

Rising Star Award

Presented to a first- or second-year student with a minimum 3.0 GPA who is currently involved in leadership or service activities and is actively pursuing future leadership roles at Clemson University.

2019-20 recipient: Roann Abdeladl

  • Sophomore health science major
  • Educational outreach chair for the Student Funding Board, which allocates the activity fee disbursements for organizations and clubs
  • Serves as treasurer for the Muslim Students Association and coordinated an educational booth for World Hijab Day in Greenville, South Carolina

Matt Locke Award

Presented to a student for outstanding leadership with regard to service and devotion to humankind and Clemson University.

2019-20 recipient: Ashni Bhojwani

  • Senior psychology and criminal justice major
  • Named a Truman Scholarship recipient, the premier graduate fellowship for public service leadership; she is only the third Clemson student to ever receive the honor
  • Interned with the Campaign for Youth Justice, a nonprofit that works to end prosecution, sentencing and incarceration of United States youth, in the summer of 2019
  • Plans to pursue a law degree following graduation

Outstanding Commitment to Service

Presented to an organization that has demonstrated outstanding service to Clemson University and the surrounding community, promoted the public good, demonstrated innovation, creativity or a new kind of engagement, and created a valuable learning experience for students.

2019-20 recipient: Alpha Tau Omega

  • Has raised nearly $20,000 in support of Samuel J. Cadden Chapel and more than $50,000 for Upstate Warrior Solution over the past two years; set an Interfraternity Council philanthropic record through its Upstate Warrior fundraising efforts
  • Takes part in annual highway cleanup and engages ClemsonLIFE through field days and mentoring activities
  • Won the 2019 Homecoming float competition in collaboration with Alpha Phi and Gamma Phi Beta

Outstanding Program of the Year

Presented to a registered student organization whose program demonstrated creativity, ingenuity, organization and left a positive impact on the campus community.

2019-20 recipient: Spirit blitz (Central Spirit)

  • Raised awareness for non-revenue varsity athletics programs during the week of Feb. 9-16
  • Utilized social media, campus digital network, local websites and collaborated with Clemson Athletics and IPTAY to provide incentives for attendance

Tiger Pride Award

Presented to an organization that has outstanding participation in campuswide events and contribution to the development of its members.

2019-20 recipient: TigerLive Entertainment

  • Planned and executed a live music performance featuring JOHNNYSWIM in Memorial Stadium during Tigerama 2019
  • Collaborated with multiple campus partners to put on a silent disco in the Barnes Center in February
  • Hosted an anti-gun violence activist and Parkland shooting survivor in collaboration with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and Clemson University Police Department (CUPD)
  • Aided in Black History Month, LGBTQ+ Pride Week and Women’s Celebration Month events

Undergraduate Student Organization of the Year

Presented to a registered undergraduate organization that has made a significant effort to further its purpose through contributions to Clemson University and the local community. The award recognizes the organization that has demonstrated consistent flexibility, initiative, creativity and perseverance through their activities and programs. The organization also embodies the Clemson spirit through its commitment to leadership development, collaboration among groups and programmatic efforts to enhance the quality of campus life.

2019-20 recipient: Muslim Students Association

  • Successfully hosted events such as Islam Awareness Night, with more than 200 attendees
  • Also held a Taste of the Middle East, which brings in traditional foods and artifacts to educate Clemson students and community members about the Muslim faith
  • Saw more than 150 students, faculty and staff participate in World Hijab Day, which offered a chance to learn about Muslim students in a fun and inviting way

Graduate Student Organization of the Year

Presented to a registered graduate organization that has made a significant effort to further its purpose through contributions to Clemson University and the local community. The award recognizes the organization that has demonstrated consistent flexibility, initiative, creativity and perseverance through their activities and programs. The organization also embodies the Clemson spirit through its commitment to leadership development, collaboration among groups and programmatic efforts to enhance the quality of campus life.

2019-20 recipient: Clemson Indian Student Association

  • Successfully plan and organize five events celebrating the major festivals of India each year; these events showcase talents, authentic Indian food, dancing and music and are attended by hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students each year
  • Provides support to incoming international students through roommate identification, orientation, course registration and more

Advisor of the Year

Presented to a student organization advisor that has provided excellent service, support and guidance to the organization(s) to which they advise. The recipient is actively involved as the organization advisor in helping and guiding the students and organization as a whole to be successful and fulfill their mission and goals.

2019-20 recipient: Ciera Durden

  • Serves as the associate director for multicultural community development in the Gantt Center
  • Works with the Clemson Rainbow Fellowship and attends all executive meetings, multiple events and advises the group on decisions and policies
  • Assisted in crafting a mentor handbook and training session and helped revamped Ally Training program

CONNECTIONS Senior Peer Mentor of the Year

Presented to a member of the CONNECTIONS leadership team who goes above and beyond to plan and facilitate programs for students, leads by example and fosters a sense of community within the program.

2019-20 recipient: Vanessa Gonzalez

  • Senior psychology and women’s leadership double major
  • Has forged deep relationships with mentees and other mentors in CONNECTIONS
  • Has served as a mentor within the program since her sophomore year

CONNECTIONS Mentor of the Year

Presented to a CONNECTIONS mentor who is dedicated to the program, shows great consistency and demonstrates a support for the transition and success of first-year students.

2019-20 recipient: Camryn Hubbard

  • Sophomore biochemistry major
  • Consistently attends CONNECTIONS events and supports mentees by providing energy and a positive spirit
  • Creates a welcoming environment for all program participants

CONNECTIONS Mentee of the Year

Presented to a first-year CONNECTIONS student who exemplifies leadership, academic excellence and who displays a love for fellow program participants.

2019-20 recipient: A.J. Sanders

  • Freshman general engineering major
  • Described by others as “hard working” and “involved on campus”
  • Displays a willingness to help others and energy toward peers within his living-learning community

Outstanding Student Veteran

Presented to an enrolled student veteran who has had a remarkable impact on Clemson’s campus and veteran services, displayed admirable leadership to their veteran and military-connected peers, and furthered the mission of Military and Veteran Engagement by creating a purposeful, engaged and veteran-inclusive campus at Clemson.

Fall 2019 recipient: Pat Harrison

  • Senior parks, recreation and tourism management major
  • Volunteered to host the fall tailgate, a fun and supportive event for student veterans and their families
  • Engaged fellow student veterans in and out of the classroom to make them feel connected to campus

Spring 2020 recipient: Eric Suttles

  • Graduate student in parks, recreation and tourism management
  • Served in Clemson’s Student Veterans of America (SVA) chapter and with Team River Runner, a watersports-based student organization
  • Volunteered in the Student Veteran Center during Spring 2020 by navigating the VA benefits system for students