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SUS awards night recognizes student involvement on campus

“Last Wednesday, the Student Union Society (SUS) held an awards night to honour student volunteers and clubs or associations. While the SUB filled with students, faculty, and members from the community, the lobby buzzed with activity, people helping themselves to the delicious snacks and refreshments served. The event also featured keynote speaker Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free the Children and Me to We. Kielburger caught everyone’s attention with a short story about Iqbal Masih, the young man who inspired him at the age of 12 to start building schools around the world.”

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By Ekanki Chawla (Contributor) – Email

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Last Wednesday, the Student Union Society (SUS) held an awards night to honour student volunteers and clubs or associations. While the SUB filled with students, faculty, and members from the community, the lobby buzzed with activity, people helping themselves to the delicious snacks and refreshments served.

The night started off with a welcoming speech from Thomas Davies, SUS’s outgoing president, and Jody Gordon, UFV’s vice president of students. Davies and Gordon said that UFV is anything but “boring,” and proceeded to highlight the numerous events held for students on campus every day.

SUS then recognized all the individuals who had volunteered with SUS throughout the academic year. For every five hours any student had volunteered with SUS, one ballot was entered into a draw. Prizes included UFV hoodies, $25 gift cards, an Xbox, and even a one-year subscription to Netflix. One student was even lucky enough to be drawn twice and go home with two UFV hoodies.

The event also featured keynote speaker Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free the Children and Me to We. Kielburger caught everyone’s attention with a short story about Iqbal Masih, the young man who inspired him at the age of 12 to start building schools around the world. Kielburger continued sharing his stories and experiences with other inspirational individuals, from being interviewed by Oprah and her vowing to assist him with his early dream of building 10 schools, to Kielburger’s interactive pencil-breaking story about Gandhi’s lessons of peace. He kept the audience engaged with some light humour and a strong stage presence. Kielburger left students with an increased perspective of the difference they can make.

UFV alumni Kelly Chahal, now an Abbotsford City councillor and dedicated community volunteer, announced the volunteer of the year award. Of the four nominees (Mohit Bassal, Sahil Chawla, Arash Tamber, and Tanya Vanpraseuth) the plaque was awarded to Sahil Chawla. Chawla was recognized for founding the Circle K International club and his immeasurable hours put towards SUS, clubs, and the UFV campus at large.

The club or association of the year award was presented by Terry-Lynn Stone, a UFV alumni and current executive director of the Kamloops Brain Injury Association. She announced the four nominated clubs: E-Sports Valley, thestudent psychology association, the Arab club and Circle K. The Arab club took home the prize and was recognized for their weekly events where students of all ethnicities and experiences gather to learn about new countries and topics. The Arab club was also the first UFV group to address the Paris attacks of last November, as well as the organizers of a donation drive to support Syrian refugees resettling in the Fraser Valley over the Christmas break.

The excellence in leadership award was announced by Brian Minter, UFV’s former chancellor, who player a role in the transition of the Fraser Valley College into a degree-granting university college. Minter recognized the three nominees: Heather Campbell, Gurvir Gill, and Heather Kardos. The award recipient was Heather Campbell, the president of the nursing student association (NSA). Campbell spearheaded the nursing orientation for new students.

The night ended with a closing speech from Davies and Sukhi Brar, SUS’s incoming president for 2016-17. The room quickly emptied out, while a few lined up to catch a few words (and pictures) with Kielburger. Not everyone in attendance went home with a prize or reward, but everyone hopefully left with an increased motivation to inspire others on campus.

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