By Ellen Garnett
Simmons came together this past weekend to honor its student leaders at its annual Leadership Recognition Ceremony (LRC). Members of the College’s community took time to dine and award the achievements of 19 students, organizations, programming, and an advisor.
Sarah Neill, Vice President of Student Affairs and Associate Provost, welcomed the audience in her opening address.
“Take a moment to look around for a second. Imagine for a moment, I certainly can’t, Simmons without all of you,” said Neill. “…There is no question that we are better and stronger because of you.”
Neill addressed the struggles of being a student leader and the various forms of leadership at Simmons. She brought up the question that leaders often ask themselves, “Am I even good enough?” and debunked the myth that leaders are not supposed to make mistakes.
“As we honor leadership tonight, I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the wonderful examples of leadership that are missed,” said Neill. “I’d like to acknowledge the falling down and the getting up, the hard edges and the squeaking boards of leadership.”
During the evening, Dean for Student Life, Susan Antonelli presented senior Sinai Sampson-Hill with the Multicultural Community Award for her numerous contributions to diversity and inclusion at Simmons. Some of her notable achievements include the establishment of the first Multicultural Week at Simmons, a five-day long celebration of various cultures represented at the College through specialized programming; the co-founding of the Multiracial Advocacy and Relations at Simmons (MARS), and the organizing of the Student Multicultural Leadership Conference.
“In a room full of faculty and staff and college leadership, she is a thoughtful voice for the student community,” said Antonelli, who worked alongside Thompson-Hill on the Diversity and Inclusion Action Council. “She stands up for what is right and what is just and has helped push Simmons forward toward becoming a more inclusive community.”
Corey Zohlman, director of the Office of Student Leadership and Activities, presented the Black Student Organization (BSO) with the “Organization Award”. All of the present BSO members, with their current President, senior Jordan Jackson, came together to accept the award. Citing the words of nominators, Zohlman highlighted the group’s efforts for diversity and inclusion through its diverse programming, including an Afro-Jazz Class, a screening of the “13th” documentary, and more.
“Another [nominator] wrote, ‘In my eyes, they continue to set the standard for programing,’” said Zohlman.
Additionally, Antonelli presented the Class of 2018 with the “Student Life Program Award” for putting on the first “How to Adult Fair,” a program that the class held through the support of the Alumnae Innovation Grant (a grant for $1,500). The fair, hosted in March of this year, provided students with helpful information on everything from how to find an apartment to how to manage students loans.
SGA President of the 2016-2017 academic year, Taylor Lewis, also won the Joan Melber Warburg ‘45 Leadership Award for his exceptional leadership throughout his four years at Simmons.
“Throughout your four years at Simmons, your contributions have been abundant and have come in many forms and in many venues,” said President Helen Drinan, who presented Lewis with the award. “…From the outset, you have demonstrated an interest in surfacing and channeling the voices of your peers.”
President Drinan highlighted Lewis’s various roles as a resident advisor for the past three years, his internships with state senators, and his ascent to the SGA presidency that showcased his leadership in bringing about change.
This year’s LRC ended with the introduction of the 2017-2018 SGA Executive Board and well wishes for students approaching finals week as well as graduating seniors.