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Student Organization and Involvement Awards

Student Affairs recognizes the outstanding work recognized student organizations at Penn State do at the closing of each spring semester. Both student organizations and their leaders are celebrated through these awards. Descriptions of the awards can be found below.

Last year’s nominees and recipients can be found below. Each organization and individual nominated had great accomplishments and it is an honor to be nominated. Please join us in congratulating them all.

New Initiative

The New Initiative award recognizes an organization that implemented new initiatives and programs in the past year. This award will be given to recognize a new program or initiative created and implemented by a recognized student organization that contributed to the overall student experience.

2021 Recipient: Management and Organizational Leadership Association

2021 Nominees:

  •  Assistance in Transition to University Park
  • Chinese Psychology Association
  • Engineering Leadership Society
  • Management and Organizational Leadership Association
  • Nepalese Society at Penn State
  • Society for Advancement of Chicano/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science Chapter at Penn State

2020 Recipient: Days for Girls

Innovative Program

The Innovative Program award recognizes a student organization that took an inventive and original approach to creating or updating an existing program. The program met a need of the Penn State Community and its students through creative planning and marketing.  

2021 Recipient: Hillel

2021 Nominees:

  • Chinese Psychology Association
  • Hillel

2020 Recipients: 

  • Society of Indian Music and Arts (Graduate & Professional Organization) 
  • Monty Python Society (Undergraduate Organization)  
Outstanding Service

The Outstanding Service award recognizes an organization that best demonstrates dedicated leadership and service to the university or community and whose membership has made service an integral part of their college experience. This might be demonstrated through activities and partnerships with other campus groups or community organizations and/or high levels of personal engagement on the part of the membership. The organization that receives this award will have sponsored a community service program that contributed to the broader mission of Penn State and encouraged students to engage in service beyond one experience.  

2021 Recipient: Harmony

2021 Nominees:

  • Bangladesh Student Association
  • Cedar Heights Church RSO
  • Harmony

2020 Recipient: Athletes Take Action

Outstanding Philanthropy Event

The Outstanding Philanthropy Event award recognizes an organization that has held a successful philanthropy event that benefitted either a local or national philanthropy. This organization will have taken care in planning and executing the event and provided information regarding the philanthropy during the event. 

2021 Recipient: Meetings and Events Club

2021 Nominees:

  • Meetings and Events Club
  • ServeState: Students for Philanthropy

2020 Recipient: Omega Delta Sigma

Outstanding Sustainability Efforts 

The Outstanding Sustainability Efforts award recognizes an organization that infuses sustainability into its daily practices. This organization has taken the time to educate their members on sustainable efforts within their organization and beyond. They have collaborated with other organizations, community partners, or departments to learn, grown, and share in the spirit of sustainability.  

2021 Recipient: Days for Girls at Penn State

2020 Recipient: Nittany Divers SCUBA Club

Outstanding Marketing

The Outstanding Marketing award recognizes an organization that demonstrates significant presence and attention from traditional and social media outlets. This organization understands that the promotion of their group and their group’s work is an important part of the event-planning process.  The recipient of this award exhibits creativity, inclusivity, and wide reach to attract students to events or to promote awareness of a cause.  This student organization has gone above and beyond to demonstrate the importance of publicity.  

2021 Recipient: Society for Advancement of Chicano/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science Chapter at Penn State

2021 Nominees:

  • Days for Girls at Penn State
  • ServeState: Students for Philanthropy
  • Society for Advancement of Chicano/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science Chapter at Penn State

2020 Recipient: Women in Business

Up and Coming Organization

The Up and Coming Organization Award recognizes a newly formed organization in good standing that has recently (within this academic year) gained recognition or re-instatement and has positively contributed to the PSU community. This organization exemplifies significant efforts in building collaborative relationships with current organizations and meets a need at PSU not met by another organization.

2021 Recipient: Minority Graduate Students in STEM

2021 Nominees:

  • Chinese Psychology Association
  • Engineering Leadership Society
  • Minority Graduate Students in STEM

2020 Recipient: The Minority Association of Pre-Medical/Health Students 

Membership Engagement

The Membership Engagement award recognizes an organization that has prioritized the retention and active involvement of their membership. This organization has worked to foster a sense of community within their membership, from new to returning members. They value all member and encourage involvement in the organization no matter the time spent in the organization.

2021 Recipient: Club Tennis

2021 Nominees:

  • Association for Women in Sports Media
  • Cedar Heights Church RSO
  • Club Tennis
  • Engineering Leadership Society
  • Harmony
  • International Christian Fellowship
  • National Student Speech Language Hearing Association
  • Nepalese Society at Penn State
  • Psi Chi The International Honors Society in Psychology
  • ServeState: Students for Philanthropy
  • Society for Advancement of Chicano/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science Chapter at Penn State

2020 Recipients:  Chinese Student and Scholars Association

Professional/Student Development

The Professional/Student Development award recognizes an organization that serve the needs of its members through speakers, workshops, retreats, conferences, and other acts to continually educate its members. This organizations values the development of all its members and actively works to create an environment that promotes learning and growth.  

2021 Recipient: Society of Women Engineers

2021 Nominees:

  • Association for Women in Sports Media
  • Bangladesh Student Association
  • Chinese Psychology Association
  • GreeksCARE
  • Management and Organizational Leadership Association
  • Meetings and Events Club
  • Hillel
  • Psi Chi The International Honors Society in Psychology
  • Small and Exotic Animal Club
  • Society for Advancement of Chicano/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science Chapter at Penn State
  • Society of Women Engineers

2020 Recipient: Arnold Air Society  

Community Impact

The Community Impact award recognizes an organization that positively impacts the campus and the greater Penn State community.  This organization strives to be a community builder through service, education, inspiration, and connection.  The recipient of this award has made outstanding and meaningful connections inside and outside of the PSU community. Through programs and initiatives, this student organization has had the opportunity to have a real and meaningful impact on both the campus and local community.  

2021 Recipient: Smeal Student Mentors

2021 Nominees:

  • Assistance in Transition to University Park
  • Bangladesh Student Association
  • Black Graduate Student Association
  • Days for Girls at Penn State
  • Harmony
  • Pollock Halls Residence Association
  • Smeal Student Mentors

2020 Recipient:  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Student Commemoration Committee 

Collaborative Efforts and Initiative

The Collaborative Efforts and Initiative award recognizes a co-sponsored program or initiative that demonstrates synergy and success as a result of working together.  This award celebrates student organizations that have made collaboration a top priority.  The recipients have demonstrated they can break down barriers between diverse student populations and foster greater communication between different organizations on campus.  This may have occurred through programs, conversations, or publicity for a cause.  These organizations have enhanced the Penn State experience and made a larger contribution to the community with their collaboration.  

2021 Recipient: Black Graduate Student Association

2021 Nominees:

  • Assistance in Transition to University Park
  • Black Graduate Student Association
  • International Christian Fellowship
  • Pollock Halls Residence Association

2020 Recipient: Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers

Diversity and Inclusion Enhancement

The Diversity and Inclusion Enhancement award recognizes an organization that has had a significant impact in advancing diversity and inclusion through their membership and activities at Penn State and the community. Their programming embodies the Penn State’s Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and demonstrates a commitment to enhancing the Penn State community.

2021 Recipient: National Student Speech Language Hearing Association

2021 Nominees:

  • Agricultural Student Council
  • Black Caucus
  • GreeksCARE
  • Harmony
  • International Christian Fellowship
  • National Student Speech Language Hearing Association
  • Society for Advancement of Chicano/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science Chapter at Penn State

2020 Recipients:  

  • First Gen Advocates (Graduate & Professional Organization) 
  • K-Pop Music and Dance (Undergraduate Organization)  
OrgCentral Maximizer

The OrgCentral Maximizer award recognizes an organization that has taken full advantage of the OrgCentral platform. This organization will have taken advantage of features such as forms, elections, news, and updated their organization’s public facing page with photos and descriptions. This is a staff nominated award.  

2021 Recipients:

  • German Club
  • Student Nittany Lion Club

2020 Recipients:  

  • German Club 
  • INFORMS at Penn State 
Outstanding Event Planners

The Outstanding Event Planners award recognizes an organization that has excelled in the event planning process, from simple to complex events. This organization has taken advantage of university resources in making their event(s) planning process a success and has had interactions with multiple offices throughout the process. This is a staff nominated award. 

2021 Recipients:

  • Block and Bridle
  • Dairy Science Club

2020 Recipient: Electronic Dance Music Club 

Outstanding Financial Management

The Outstanding Financial Management award recognizes an organization that has shown responsible financial procedures and fund usage. This is a staff nominated award. 

2021 Recipients:

  • HackPSU
  • Mock Trial

2020 Recipients: 

  • Alayne Pleasanton - Thespians and No Refund Theater 
  • Justin Valenti - Competitive Latin and Ballroom Dance  
Outstanding Student Organization Support

The Outstanding Student Organization Support award recognizes a supportive University employee or unit that has gone above and beyond in assisting student organization efforts. This staff member or unit has provided exceptional customer service to student organizations and does not serve in a formal advising capacity to the organization. 

2020 Recipient: Jenn Stewart – Penn State Unmanned Aircraft Operations Department  

Outstanding Advisors

The Outstanding Advisors award recognizes PSU faculty/staff advisors of a Recognized Student Organization in good standing who has had a positive influence on an organization by providing support, approachability, and encouragement of effective communication within the organization. 

2021 Recipients:

  • Mr. Alan Schaffranek - The Agricultural Student Council
  • Dr. Karen Marosi - College of Earth and Mineral Science Student Council
  • Peter Miraldi - TEDxPSU

2021 Nominees:

  • Mr. Alan Schaffarnek - The Agricultural Student Council
  • Barry Bram - University Park Undergraduate Association
  • Chelsey Ryan Scott-Walls - Blue & White Society
  • Dr. Irina Mikaelian - Russian Club at Penn State
  • Dr. Karen Marosi - College of Earth and Mineral Science Student Council
  • Dr. Katie Hoffman - Harmony
  • Lauren Griggs - National Society of Black Engineers
  • Mary Ellen Yonushonis - Student Nurses' Association at Penn State
  • Peter Miraldi - TEDxPSU

2020 Recipients:  

  • Cathleen Hunt - Psi Chi 
  • Charlies Smith - Accounting Society 
  • Cynthia Reed - Multicultural Engineering Graduate Association 
  • Katie Hoffman - Harmony 
  • Mary Ellen Yonushonis - Student Nurses' Association at Penn State" 
Outstanding Member

The Outstanding Member Award recognizes a non-officer member of a recognized student organization who has gone above and beyond. This member works hard to make their community a warm, friendly, exciting, and educational experience for students. This award will be given to recognize a student organization member (not an officer) of a Recognized Student Organization who often places their heart and soul into everything. This member may be classified as often taking a “behind the scenes” approach but always goes above and beyond the standard to help their student organization, who displays outstanding leadership, dedication and involvement with their organization. 

2021 Recipient: Jalynn Burruss - National Society of Black Engineers

2021 Nominees:

  • Jalynn Burruss - National Society of Black Engineers
  • Kaylie Shojaie - Harmony
  • Sarah Russel - Harmony
  • Tazrin Islam - Bangladesh Student Association

2020 Recipients:

  • Cierra Chandler (Graduate & Professional Member) - Multicultural Engineering Graduate Association 
  • Joseph Braukmann (Undergraduate Member) - Harmony 
Outstanding Officer

The Outstanding Officer Award recognizes an executive board officer that has made on impact on their organizations. The officer has helped define the missions of their groups, build plans to achieve their goals, provide encouragement and motivation to members while also managing expectations and providing important oversight, and maintains integrity even in difficult situations. The award celebrates the student organization officers who often dedicate much of their time and effort to ensure that their organization is successful and tirelessly give themselves to the projects and events associated with their organization. This award recognizes a student organization officer who displays outstanding organizational leadership, dedication and involvement to the overall success of their organization. 

2021 Recipients: 

  • Farhan Sadique - Bangladesh  Student Association
  • Olivia Golgosky - Harmony

2021 Nominees:

  • Byron Pollo - Russian Club at Penn State
  • Colin Sargent - Feeding the Community
  • Danniel Tigeros - GreekCARES
  • Deborah Dadeboe - Society of Women Engineers
  • Declan Costello - Blue and White Society
  • Donna Butler - Phi Delta Phi
  • Dynisty Wright - First Gen Advocates
  • Eammon Powers - Penn State Fly Fishing Club
  • Evan Mehalov - Blue and White Society
  • Farhan Sadique - Bangladesh Student Association
  • Hannah Patton - Harmony
  • Jamie Weikel - American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
  • Kylie Wright - Psi Chi
  • Matt Geisler - Psi Chi
  • Matthew Soska - College Republicans
  • Michael Hunter - College Republicans
  • Millo Dutervil - National Society of Black Engineers
  • Olivia Golgosky - Harmony
  • Ouniol Aklilu - Society for Advancement of Chicano/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science Chapter
  • Robert Novak - Feeding the Community
  • Ryan Manderbach - Blue and White Society
  • Satyam Ghodasara - Blue and White Society
  • Tanner Sherry - Blue and White Society
  • Zachary Stoner - Feeding the Community
  • Imani Murray - National Society of Black Engineers
  • William Searight - Blue in the FACE
  • Zoe Cykosky - Club Tennis

2020 Recipient: Katie Leite - Psi Chi (President) and Student Farm (Programming Director)

Outstanding Student Organization

The Outstanding Student Organization Award recognizes an organization that has made a significant effort to further its purpose through its contribution to Penn State and the State College community. This award recognizes the student organization that has demonstrated consistent flexibility, initiative, creativity, and perseverance through their activities and programs. Furthermore, the organization embodies a commitment to leadership development, collaboration among groups, and programmatic efforts to enhance the quality of campus life at Penn State. The Outstanding Student Organization is considered a role model for other organizations on our campus.  

2021 Recipient: National Student Speech Language Hearing Association

2021 Nominees:

  • Association for Women in Sports Media
  • Bangladesh Student Association
  • Chinese Psychology Association
  • GreeksCARE
  • Harmony
  • Hillel
  • International Christian Fellowship
  • Meetings and Events Club
  • National Student Speech Language Hearing Association
  • Psi Chi The International Honors Society in Psychology
  • ServeState: Students for Philanthropy
  • The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers

2020 Recipient: Harmony