Monthly Archives: May 2011

Brandon Gil and Brittany Nicholls: William Mitchell College of Law’s Presidents’ Student Leadership Award Recipients

Brandon Gil and Brittany Nicholls, student associates for World Without Genocide, worked to prohibit government-sanctioned torture. President Obama issued four memoranda acknowledging U.S. complicity in torture but there has been no effort to insure that this abrogation of national law cannot recur.  Brandon and Brittany developed a state-level initiative to insure that Minnesota’s licensed health care professionals would be prohibited from participating in torture anywhere in the world, with the goal to influence national policy.  They assisted in coordinating an event to support state action. The event, “Legal and Medical Impunity for Torture: From Nuremberg to California,” featured outstanding speakers:  two authors of books on torture – Dr. Steve Miles, biomedical ethicist, and Professor Marjorie Cohn, past president of the National Lawyers Guild – and Ms. Margot DeWilde, survivor of medical experiments in Auschwitz. The program brought together nearly a hundred people from the medical, legal, and human rights community to discuss policies and action.  Brandon and Brittany then drafted a bill for the Minnesota legislature, sponsored by Sen. Sandy Pappas.  Brittany subsequently spoke at a meeting attended by Sen. Pappas, directors of Minnesota’s health-care licensing boards, Dr. Miles, and Dr. Ellen Kennedy, director of World Without Genocide.   The bill was introduced and is pending further action.

Institute for Global Citizenship Student Council: Macalester College’s Presidents’ Student Leadership Award Recipient

The Institute for Global Citizenship Student Council was conceived five years ago as a body that would advise and support Macalester’s Institute for Global Citizenship.  Student members from the beginning have always wanted to go beyond these expectations.  Along with supporting the original interest to maximize representation of diverse student communities and developing programs to connect students to the life of the IGC, members of the IGCSC have aspired 1) to govern themselves as a democratic and non-hierarchical group, 2) to ensure student empowerment, representation, and advocacy for student interests, 3) to be mature, constructive, and effective partners when collaborating with administration and faculty, and 4) to inspire peers to lead the institution in changing and improving the world.
The IGCSC has implemented two events that significantly elevated the impact of their work.  First, IGCSC members created a “Soup and Scholarship” program that stimulated students to present research that promotes global citizenship. They also created “Live It:  The IGCSC Fund,”  which invited students to apply for grants that offered applicants a meaningful opportunity to define and live global citizenship.

Tara Huhn: Inver Hills Community College’s Presidents’ Student Leadership Award Recipient

Tara Huhn

Tara has been committed to service since she began her studies at Inver Hills.  She first became a service-learning student at Family Means during the 2009-2010 school year.  Once she completed her hours required for her course, she still continued on as a general volunteer.  During the 2010-2011 school year, she became an Americorps volunteer for Family Means.  Family Means assists families who are caregivers to individuals with disabilities and/or seniors.  Tara has worked with 5 families giving them a much needed break every week.  She also attends fairs and events for Family Means as a spokesperson.  Tara is a tireless volunteer.  She has also taken part in the Inver Hills Hurricane Katrina service trip to Louisiana.  She also finds time in her busy schedule to be in VIBE, Inver Hills volunteering student club.  She received the 2011 Community Service Leadership award for Inver Hills and we are honored at her commitment to her community and to Inver Hills Community College.

Volunteers in Action: University of Saint Thomas’ Presidents’ Student Leadership Award Recipient


Volunteers-In-Action (VIA) is a student-run service organization aimed at serving the people of the Twin Cities. VIA has six different sites around the Cities: Westside Boys and Girls Club, Adopt-A-Grandparent at Episcopal Church Home, Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio (CLUES), MEDS at United Hospital, Tommie Park and Rec at the Cities’ parks, and Tommie Outreach at various locations. Each site is unique in who it serves; making VIA an exciting opportunity for students to get involved and give back, while also gaining valuable experience in a potential career field.

VIA works to educate students on social justice issues and at their specific site, hosts a Holiday Dinner for local shelters, and sponsors other on-campus service days, like Community Clean-Up Day.  In particular, the holiday dinners have been taking place for over 20 years, providing an elegant meal (prepared and served by students) for up to 250 people from Listening House and the Dorothy Day Center.

VIA is a highly visible and respected group on campus, frequently winning student organization awards.  Hundreds of St. Thomas students volunteer with VIA each year, and the program also provides fantastic leadership opportunities for UST students who serve as student directors and site leaders.

Charis Johnson: University of Minnesota, Rochester Presidents’ Student Leadership Award Recipient

Charis Johnson

Charis Johnson is a senior nursing student at UMR. As an AmeriCorps Student In Service, Charis is completing 300 hours of service within the Rochester community over the next year. She is developing a volunteer position in the Brain Injury Day Center at Mayo Clinic. She is the Nursing Board Representative for the Rochester Student Association (RSA), the new student government at UMR. She serves as a liaison between the Nursing College Board and nursing students, and the BSHS students. She is advocating for future interdisciplinary health care member collaboration. Charis is also a UMR Student Ambassadors and the only Nursing Ambassador. As a UMR Ambassadors, she presents “the face of UMR.” She participates in campus visit days, gives prospective students tours, and recently had dinner with a group of National Honor Society students from Cannon Falls High School to encourage them to be active in college and provide guidance. Finally, Charis is involved professionally in the National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) and Nursing College Board. She serves as the UMR Program Director for the local NSNA chapter. Charis is active in the health care, university, and professional communities serving in a variety of roles.

Latino/Chicano Student Association: University of Minnesota Duluth’s Presidents’ Student Leadership Award Recipient

UMD Latino/Chicano Student Association

This student organization has been very active over the past few years. The UMD Latino/Chicano Student Association maintains a prominent level of visibility on the UMD campus and in the local community. This organization’s focus is on increasing campus awareness of Latino/Chicano people and issues, thereby creating a better campus climate for everyone. This year the UMD Latino/Chicano Organization has planned a series of immigration speakers and films at UMD and the Twin Ports area.  Several faculty on campus required their students to attend these important events.  They have partnered with the Duluth Latino Voices and the League of Women Voters to bring the issues of immigration to the twin ports.  Prominent speakers who have been to UMD for campus-wide presentations over the past few years include Marjorie Agosin, Dolores Huerta, Cherie Moraga, Luis Rodriguez, Sandra Cisneros, Dr. Barcelo and Richard Lopez.  Additionally, a Fiesta has become part of the annual cycle of events for the campus community. This event has been in existence for 22 years! Over 400 people attend the Annual Fiesta each academic year. Finally, the UMD Latino/Chicano Student Association is open to everyone on campus. They support individualism as well as community building.

Rochester Area Math/Science Partnership: Rochester Technical and Community College’s Presidents’ Community Partner Award Recipient

Rochester Area Math/Science Partnership

The Rochester Area Math/Science Partnership (RAMSP) includes 13 K-12 partner schools, 3 higher education providers, the Rochester Workforce Development Center as well as IBM and Mayo Clinic.  This innovative business/education partnership provides support and services to over 31,000 students and 1900 teachers in an area covering 2800 square miles in southeastern Minnesota. The RAMSP partnership supports inquiry learning, high student academic performance and the use of quality improvement tools to document results.

Members meet monthly to share common data to document improvements in student performance in math and science.  These programs provide opportunities for networking and sharing best practices.  The partnership hosts programs on state standards, quality improvement and teacher recruitment.  Workshops, forums, webinars and projects are made available to the teachers affiliated with partner schools.  The Zebrafish, Stem Village and Mayo Summer Internship programs provide unique opportunities for students/teachers to apply learning to the workplace.  The partnership also hosts an annual Outstanding Educator Award ceremony to recognize outstanding math and/or science teachers.

The RAMPS Partnership enhances the quality of life in the community in meaningful and measurable ways.  RAMSP represents a sustained, reciprocal partnership of education and business, thus enriching educational as well as community outcomes.

Nana Boaten: University of Minnesota Crookston’s Presidents’ Student Leadership Award Recipient

Nana Boaten

Although he has been on our campus a brief time, Nana Boaten proved immediately that he wants to get involved.  Originally from Ghana, Nana is senator of International Relations for the Crookston Student Association, president of the Soccer Club, treasurer for the National Society of Leadership and Success, and secretary of Study Abroad Club.  Additionally, he is a member of SIFE, UMC Rotary Club, Students Today Leaders Forever, and the Residential Housing Jury Board for Student Conduct.  He also is a member of six campus committees.  When asked to represent his country, Nana steps up by giving presentations and cooking ethnic food for special events.  Obviously, he has impressed a lot of people with his talent and willingness to get involved.  His service is not restricted to the UMC community though.  He has delivered meals, coached a children’s CYSA (soccer) league, assisted on the Habitat House, served Thanksgiving meals at a local assisted living facility, hosted high school students overnight for the Multicultural Excellence Program, raised funds for the Salvation Army, helped organize “Winter Wonderland,” a holiday event for local children, and helped sandbag the city of Crookston.  Most impressive is his ever-present smile and enthusiasm!