Panther Service Awards to reward volunteering students

Logan Raschke, Managing Editor

Students can nominate either themselves or their peers online for Panther Service Awards, which highlight those who have shown volunteerism and/or great leadership.

Beth Gillespie, director of the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism, said the office wanted to honor and recognize students who have shown great leadership and volunteering efforts by awarding them. She said she wants the new awards ceremony to be an annual event.

Out of the eight awards available to students, Gillespie said the individual awards are scholarships.

Gillespie said the exact scholarship amounts have not been determined yet, but they come from grant-in-aid money. Students who nominate themselves or others for the individual scholarships will need to apply for them through Eastern’s scholarship system AcademicWorks.

Gillespie said the office is looking for students who have had a hand in volunteering in the Eastern and/or Charleston community and have shown civic engagement by empowering others to dedicate some of their time to service.

“It’s not just about giving your time, it’s how are you going to influence and make an impact? So those are the kind of student leaders we’re hoping to recognize through both the individual awards and the group awards,” she said.

Students can nominate themselves and others by visiting Eastern’s website and searching for “Panther Service Awards.” The deadline to apply is March 10, and the awards will be announced on April 27 in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

There are four individual scholarship awards and four group awards.

The individual scholarship awards include:

• Emerging Leader

This award is granted to students who are actively helping the community by volunteering. Students who nominate themselves must have a 2.75 GPA, less than 40 credit hours, be in good academic standing and have at least 30 hours of community service logged with the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism.

• Making a Difference

This award is granted to students who are actively volunteering through the office. Students who nominate themselves must have a 2.75 GPA and be in good academic standing.

• Panther of the Year

This highest-honor award is granted to two students who have 70 or more credit hours and at least a 3.0 GPA. This award is selective based on exceptional volunteer work, according to Eastern’s website. “The students are selected based off academic achievement, service to the community, participation in co-curricular activities and extracurricular activities as a student at Eastern. The Panther of the Year must show exceptional qualities in volunteering and making a difference in the Charleston community,” Eastern’s website says. This is another self-nominated award.

• Silent Inspiration

This award is given to a student who has helped their organization, community or Eastern in a successful, yet quiet way. Students considered for this award might not have leadership roles at Eastern, but they have shown great volunteerism and service to their organization(s) and community. Peers, advisers or faculty nominate this student for the award without the student’s knowledge.

The group awards include:

• Lead by Example

This award goes to a fraternity and/or sorority that “facilitates leadership development and promotes leadership opportunities for its members, the campus, and the community,” according to Eastern’s website. Chapters considered for this award must have been established for at least two years and have shown the importance of civic engagement and volunteerism. Chapters can nominate themselves or be nominated by others.

• Outstanding Collaborative Program

This award is given to a student group that has collaborated with any other student group or Eastern department on an event that promotes philanthropy, leadership or service. Student groups can nominate themselves or be nominated by others.

• Outstanding Academic or Educational Program

This award is given to student group that hosted an event that promoted civic responsibility through educational programming. “This award is focused on a specific academic/educational program that furthered knowledge, encouraged dialogue and learning among attendees. (An Example: A student organization host an educational presentation on food insecurity, and how to help students and the community,” Eastern’s website says. Student groups can nominate themselves or be nominated.

• Outstanding Impact Award

This award is given to a student group that has hosted a service or philanthropic event that promoted empowering students to take action. According to Eastern’s website, the event must have made a “significant difference in the campus community and/or local Charleston community.” Student groups can nominate themselves or be nominated.

Logan Raschke can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].