Wildcat Impact Awards
Many Northwestern students work hard to make the campus a more positive place to be. They host events, provide support, and do so much more for students to build community and grow together.
This fall, six students and one student organization have been selected to receive a Wildcat Impact award, an award that recognizes students based on Northwestern Student Affairs values: innovation, integrity, social justice, collaboration and stewardship. These students were nominated by students, club advisers, faculty, and community partners for their great work this fall, and officially selected by a Student Affairs committee.
Joseph Lattal, Assistant Director of Student Organizations and Activities, says the Wildcat Impact Awards are a highlight of his job. “Being involved in this committee is one of the most rewarding parts of my job at Northwestern,” he said. “It’s really inspiring to see the accounts that people share about all the things that happen here, and how committed so many students and staff are to building community, the values that drive them, and making Northwestern a positive environment for a lot of folks.”
Students are selected once per quarter and an official awards ceremony is held in the spring to honor all the winners. There is also a giant display dedicated to the winners in Norris every quarter.
Now, it’s time to meet this quarter’s winners.
Amy is a graduate student studying Neuroscience. She is president of the Chicago Graduate Student Association, a group that she says “serves the needs of graduate students on the Chicago campus through a variety of social and professional events,” and advocates for issues that affect Chicago graduate students. Amy’s commitment to Chicago campus graduate students is admirable, and she says that she’s even grown in the process of supporting other students.
Raghavendra and Sarrin are founders of the Northwestern University Energy Club (NUEC), and are both undergraduate students in the class of 2020. Raghavendra studies Chemical Engineering and Sarrin is an Economics major. These two started NUEC as an organization that “seeks to create a community for undergraduate students interested in the energy sector to learn about energy issues and pursue careers in the energy field” by hosting speaker events and coordinating campus projects.” They say that NUEC “helps us build important relationships and learn more about the field and provides us with the opportunity to develop friendships with students who share our passion for energy and sustainability,” and that there is a bright future for the organization.
Owen is a co-founder of The Deep End, a club on campus dedicated to taking deep dives into topics often discussed on campus, but with a comedic edge. The club is only in its first year, and Owen says he and his friends decided to start it “to both entertain and educate the Northwestern student population… through a platform that’s accessible to as many people as possible.” While the show is smaller-scale now, its founders hope the show becomes more than something students just watch. “We also hope that as the club grows (we’re only two quarters old) that we can have opportunities to turn momentum from our episodes into meaningful change on campus through talkbacks and reforms,” says Owen.
Marissa is a fourth-year student studying Industrial Engineering. She is a peer mentor in the Industrial Engineering & Management Sciences department, and she was nominated for possessing all of the Northwestern Student Affairs values. She provides counsel to her second and third-year peers, and this year, she has also helped to create a focus group of underrepresented minority students in McCormick to examine their experiences. According to her nominator, she “exhibits both respect and a commitment to excellence,” but may go underrecognized because of her quiet nature.
Soteria is a third-year Learning and Organizational Change major in SESP with a minor in Weinberg’s Data Science program. Soteria has taken on leadership roles in many organizations and programs with the focus of making students from marginalized communities feel welcomed at Northwestern. She was nominated for her work over the past two years with the Peer Inclusion Educators program in the Social Justice Education office where she leads students in learning how to facilitate workshops on power, privilege, and oppression for students and student groups across campus. Additionally, she is Associated Student Government’s first ever Executive Officer for Justice and Inclusion – a position she created to institutionalize a mechanism for tracking and advancing justice initiatives inside and outside of student government. Her job is to make sure that ASG is advocating for marginalized students and taking steps year after year to become a more inclusive and just organization that strives to work for its entire student body. More than anything Soteria’s “bravery, confidence, and commitment,” seem to be admirable to other students, and her nominator says that she “consistently goes out of her way to take the injustice that she sees and turn it into action.”
The Renaissance Singers are an eight-year–old group with a great reputation. They were nominated for their “integrity…their commitment to a high level of performance standard… and their interest in bringing another great professional ensemble to campus.” They perform once every quarter, and this fall, they hosted a residency with Variant 6, who also hosted a master class for other Bienen students. Their repertoire is expansive, and they say they perform music “from celebrated choral works to obscure works by lesser-known composers.”