by Jason Tchir
Despite a few jokes comparing it to last month's excruciatingly long Academy Awards, the Concordia Council on Student Life (CCSL) Awards ceremony, held last Friday in the downtown Faculty and Staff Lounge, had no long speeches or dance numbers. Instead, students, staff, and faculty gathered to celebrate contributions to student life with laughter, and even a little poetry.
"I know a long speech is exactly what you want on a Friday afternoon," joked Rector Frederick Lowy. A strong supporter of extracurricular activities, he said his own best memories of his undergraduate studies only occasionally had to do with what was taught in the classroom.
The Merit Awards are presented to "the unsung heroes who contribute to student life or student services," to quote Dean of Students Donald Boisvert. History students presented Merit Awards to department secretary Donna Whittaker, for her unfailing helpfulness, and Profe ssor Rosemarie Schade, who over 12 years at Concordia has encouraged students to pursue further studies and supported the History Students Association.
"The Association really gives life to the department," said Schade, beaming. "It's the students who have really encouraged all of us to do our very best."
Marie-Judith Jean-Louis, a Building Engineering student, was given a Merit Award for her work for the Engineering and Computer Sciences Association (ECA). Presenter Jamie Baxter, ECA's VP academic, marvelled at how Jean-Louis, now ECA's VP finance, managed to get top grades as a full-time student while working at two jobs and doing work for the ECA.
Julie Fowler and Tricia Johns, both in the last stages of Bachelor's degrees in Art History, earned Merit Awards for turning the neglected student reading room in the Visual Arts Building into a meeting-place for students. "Fine Arts is, literally, out on an edge from the rest of the campus," Johns said. "It was difficult to find a community here. Our attendance has more than doubled since we started working on the room."
"I was surprised to get an award, because all my projects have been collaborative," said Frederick Fischer, who earned a Merit Award for his leadership role with the Communication Studies Guild and his innovative approach to Communication Studies student publications.
Marvin Cooper, Assistant Facilities Manager, won a Merit Award for his hard work keeping Concordia's sports facilities in shape. "I'd be more comfortable up here if I was fixing this mike," he joked, to laughs from the crowd.
Outstanding Contribution Awards
Extra-curricular activities outside of student government were recognized by the CCSL Award for Outstanding Contribution. One of these awards went to Graduate Students Association president Colin Dennis, who unfortunately wasn't able to attend.
Another winner was Lydia Erwig-Straughan, a graduate student and departmental secretary in Theology ("I'd like to thank the head of our department, God"), for strengthening the Theological Students Association.
Ali Mohammadi, former president of the Concordia Inter- national Students Association (CISA), was recognized for helping to welcome new students "with warmth and a sense of humour." Both qualities were in evidence as Mohammadi accepted his award. "I share this award with all of the CISA executives," he said,"but it's going on my wall." Mohammadi, who spent some of his childhood with relatives in the U.S., dedicated the award to his family, back in Iran.
Christopher Piché, president of the Engineering and Computer Science Students Association, said, "I haven't been involved because I wanted recognition. I did it because it's fun."
The Concordia Food Collective also won an Outstanding Contribution Award. Presenting the award to the founders and operators of The People's Potato soup kitchen, CSU VP internal Peter Taylor read an "Ode to a Potato," the last of which went, "Potato, potato, you're made for lovin'/We really could use a new convection oven."
"Actually, it's a six-burner gas range we need," said Zev Tiefenbach, as he accepted the award with fellow students Janice Tiefenbach, Marguerite Bromley, Jen Raso, and Mike Barkey on behalf of the Collective. His enthusiasm got cheers from the crowd. At the end of the evening, Michael Di Grappa, the new Vice Rector, Services, promised that the collective would get their new stove by September.
Stingers basketball player Carole-Anne Tull, who ís graduating with a BA in Sociology this month, said she was speechless over winning an award for her hard work on the court, but managed a few gracious words.
Teaching Excellence Awards
Professor Stefan Anastasiu, who has taught film animation at Concordia for nearly 13 years, was give an award for excellence in teaching. BFA student Emilie Goulet, who presented the award to Anastasiu with Tanya Arbec, marvelled at how devoted Anastasiu is to his students. "He helps all of us," she said, "and I've never even had a class with him."
An Award for Teaching Excellence also went to Caroline Boivin, who has taught Economics for the past three years. Boivin thanked her students and colleagues, and said she'll miss them after she leaves Concordia next month to pursue other projects.
Jennifer Ellson, Jane Shulman and Richard Sinclair won Media Awards for their work with campus media. Ellson, a fourth-year Journalism student and arts editor of TheConcordian, thanked her mother, aunts and friends of the family "for opening their kitchen doors to me after late nights of studying." She also credited Journalism professor Linda Kay for always being there to offer her support.
Shulman and Sinclair both work on the Link. "The real way to learn about journalism is to actually do it," said Shulman, who has worked on the Link for four years and has been an editor for the last two. Sinclair, a former editor-in-chief and now the Link's advertising manager, stressed that the paper is a collective. "It has never just been one person who runs it."
Copyright 2000 Concordia's Thursday Report.