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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.  This year’s nominees and recipients can be found below. Each organization and individual nominated had great accomplishments this year 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.

2020 Recipient: Days for Girls 

2020 Nominees: 

  • Days for Girls 
  • Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers 
  • The Minority Association of Pre-Medical/Health Students 
  • Women in Business 
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.  

2020 Recipients: 

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

2020 Nominees: 

  •  Society of Indian Music and Arts 
  • Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers 
  • Monty Python Society  
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.  

2020 Recipient: Athletes Take Action

2020 Nominees: 

  • Athletes Take Action  
  • Chinese Students and Scholars Association  
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. 

2020 Recipient: Omega Delta Sigma

2020 Nominees: 

  • Chinese Students and Scholars Association 
  • Omega Delta Sigma 
  • Women in Business
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.  

2020 Recipient: Nittany Divers SCUBA Club

2020 Nominees: 

  • Days for Girls 
  • Nittany Divers SCUBA Club  
  • Student Farm  
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.  

2020 Recipient: Women in Business

2020 Nominees: 

  • Chinese Students and Scholars Association 
  • Penn State Women’s Club Team Handball 
  • 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.

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

2020 Nominees: 

  • Days for Girls  
  • Monty Python Society  
  • Omega Delta Sigma  
  • Penn State Music Service Club  
  • Penn State Women’s Club Team Handball  
  • 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.

2020 Recipients:  Chinese Student and Scholars Association

2020 Nominees:  

  • Accounting Society
  • Chinese Students and Scholars Association  
  • Penn State Women’s Club Team Handball  
  • Psi Chi: The International Honors Society in Psychology 
  • PSU CrossFit  
  • Public Relations Society of America
  • Science Policy Society 
  • Women in Business 
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.  

2020 Recipient: Arnold Air Society

2020 Nominees:  

  • Accounting Society  
  • Arnold Air Society  
  • Chinese Students and Scholars Association 
  • Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers 
  • Student Nurses' Association of Penn State (SNAPS) 
  • The Minority Association of Pre-Medical/Health Students 
  • The Pennsylvania State University Economics Association 
  • Women in Business  
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.  

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

2020 Nominees:  

  • Athletes Take Action  
  • Chinese Students and Scholars Association  
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Student Commemoration Committee 
  • Opulence  
  • Science Policy Society
  • Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers 
  • Student Farm 
  • Student Nurses' Association of Penn State (SNAPS)
  • The Minority Association of Pre-Medical/Health Students  
  • Women in Business
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.  

2020 Recipient: Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers

2020 Nominees:  

  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Student Commemoration Committee 
  • Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers 
  • Society for Indian Music and Arts 
  • Women in Business
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.

2020 Recipients:  

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

2020 Nominees: 

  • Chinese Students and Scholars Association 
  • First Gen Advocates  
  • K-Pop Music and Dance
  • Multicultural Engineering Graduate Association (MEGA)  
  • Opulence  
  • Penn State Women’s Club Team Handball 
  • Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers  
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.  

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. 

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. 

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. 

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" 

2020 Nominees:  

  • Cathleen Hunt – Psi Chi 
  • Charlie Smith - Accounting Society   
  • Cynthia Reed - Multicultural Engineering Graduate Association 
  • Katie Hoffman - Harmony 
  • Mary Ellen Yonushonis - Student Nurses' Association of Penn State (SNAPS) 
  • Nancy Dreschel - Small and Exotic Animals 
  • PJ Mullen – Nittanyville Coordination Committee 
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. 

2020 Recipients:

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

2020 Nominees:  

  • Alec Hickmon - Pennsylvania State University Veteran's Organization  
  • Cierra Chandler - Multicultural Engineering Graduate Association  
  • Joseph Brauckmann - Harmony 
  • Maddie Keane - Penn State Women’s Club Team Handball  
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. 

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

2020 Nominees:  

  • Aaron Lionetti - Men's Club Water Polo 
  • Christine Tamburri - Nittany Diver SCUBA Club 
  • Christopher Sanders - Penn State CrossFit  
  • Connor Forjan - Student Nurses' Association of Penn State (SNAPS)    
  • Dorcas Kaweesa - Multicultural Engineering Graduate Association 
  • Eric Smith - Omega Chi Sigma 
  • Evan Toomey - Pennsylvania State University Economics Association 
  • Jeremy Sutherland - Science Policy Society 
  • Justin Fisher - We Are Karaoke   
  • Kathryn Leite - Student Farm & Psi Chi 
  • Kris Malysz - Bull Moose Party 
  • Marley Billman - Psi Chi 
  • Nora Van Horn - UPUA 
  • Samuel Ross - Delta Sigma Pi   
  • Sean Semanko - Turning Point USA Penn State Chapter     
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.  

2020 Recipient: Harmony 

2020 Nominees:

  • Accounting Society
  • Chinese Students and Scholars Association 
  • First Gen Advocates 
  • Harmony  
  • K-Pop Music and Dance  
  • Nittany Divers SCUBA Club
  • Penn State Music Service Club
  • Penn State Women’s Club Team Handball 
  • Psi Chi: The International Honors Society in Psychology 
  • PSU CrossFit 
  • Public Relations Society of America  
  • Science Policy Society  
  • Small and Exotic Animal Club  
  • Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers 
  • Student Farm 
  • Student Nurses' Association of Penn State (SNAPS) 
  • The Pennsylvania State University Economics Association