U of G Student Life held its annual awards presentation March 30.

Guests and award recipients were welcomed by Laurie Schnarr, Student Life director; Brenda Whiteside, associate vice-president (student affairs); and Ward 5 city councillor Leanne Piper.

Keynote speaker was Tyler Valiquette of Vote Savvy, a co-recipient of the Be the Change Award.

The following awards were presented:

Be the Change – Two recipients. As a grassroots, non-partisan, student-run organization, Vote Savvy works to increase youth voter turnout; more than 500 students voted in U of G residences during the 2015 federal election. The Muslim Students Association stimulates discussion of prayer space on campus, the installation of Wudu facilities and interfaith dialogue.

Bruno Mancini Accessibility Award — Inaugural award. The University of Guelph Sign Club offers free sign language classes to students and community members, and works to remove barriers for students and promote communication.

André Auger Citizenship Award — Adele Heagle created Indigo Girls Guelph, a girls’ empowerment organization. As a member of We Change the World and president of the local Oxfam club, she raised awareness of local and global issues.

Brian D. Sullivan Student Leadership Award — Ryan Shoot, president of the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences Student Alliance, ensured support for accredited student organizations that work with the alliance.

Diversity and Inclusion Award — Hanan Shehata, a post-doctoral researcher who recently completed her PhD in plant agriculture, served for two years as president of the campus Egypt Friendship Club. She coordinated events, including a successful Egyptian cultural night, and volunteers with the Central Student Association food bank and with the Guelph Arabic School.

Emilie Hayes Award for Community Partnerships – For 17 years, Guelph alumnus David Beaton and his Hanlon Creek rehabilitation crew have worked on the annual Project Serve Day to introduce hundreds of students to Guelph’s trail systems.

Erin Angus Graduate Student Engagement Award – Pathobiology PhD candidate Adina Bujold served on the U of G Board of Governors, co-founded the Southwestern Ontario Pathogenesis Group and established the Grad Lounge Sustainability Committee.

Gordon Nixon Leadership Award – Bachelor of arts and sciences students called 150 for Change are organizing a Kilimanjaro climb and won the leadership award in its 25th year. The group is raising funds to purchase 150 solar-powered tablet computers for students in East Africa.

Liz Honegger Student Volunteer Award – A Student Support Network volunteer, Jacqueline Vykoukal is known among her peers for her dedication and attention to student needs.

Marlene Pfaff Student Wellness Award – Peer wellness educator Josephine Gaupholm led her team in planning and running programming on mental health awareness and decreasing the stigma associated with mental illness. She represents the Wellness Education Centre on the 1-in-5 committee, which runs Mental Health Awareness Week.

Kishaadigeh Aboriginal Student Award — Natane Allison, a member of Interhall Council and the Aboriginal Student Association, launched a residence fundraising initiative for the campaign “Because I am a Girl.” She volunteers with Guelph and Wellington Children’s Services as a tutor and leader in the “Special Friend” program and volunteered with Children’s Aid Services in her hometown of Chatham, Ont. She took part in the Guelph Polar Plunge to raise funds for the Special Olympics.

Roberta Mason Award — Given to a student who has become actively involved in campus activities for the first time. First-year commerce student Brandon Ringham is the Prairie Hall operations manager and belongs to DECA U Guelph, a leadership program for Ontario business and commerce students.

R.P. Gilmor Student Life Award – Two recipients. Student Meghan Wing has served on her college’s program committee, the Human Health and Nutritional Sciences curriculum committee, and the U of G strategic renewal advisory committee. Student Life staff member Shannon Thibodeau serves students as a leadership education and development adviser.