MU Students and organizations honored at 2nd annual Student Leadership Awards Recognition Ceremony

Mansfield, PA  — Mansfield University held its 2nd annual Student Leadership Awards Recognition Ceremony on Thursday, April 21 at Alumni Hall.


Students and student organizations were celebrated for their abilities to lead by example and to inspire others to make a difference, to do good works, and to be a catalyst for inspirational change.

The Awards Ceremony was a product of the Office of Student Life and Living, the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership, the Student Government Association, and the Student Leadership Awards Selection Committee.

Anyone in the campus community could nominate a deserving student or organization for the 12 available awards. More than 100 individuals and organizations were nominated for this year’s awards.

The list of awards and recipients are listed below:

Community Impact Award – Student-Athlete Advisory Committee

The Community Impact Award recognizes the effort of an individual student or student group in the development of an ongoing or one-time community service project or program that benefits Mansfield University or the local community.

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee has hosted a variety of campus events, including basketball, dodgeball and cornhole tournaments, to unite the campus community while raising funds to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The group has also hosted speakers and seminars for fellow student-athletes and the campus.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Award – Maxwell Johnson (Wellsboro, PA)

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leadership Award recognizes an individual student or student group for their demonstrated commitment to issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice at Mansfield and in the local community.

Maxwell is very active in making campus a more inclusive environment for all Mounties. He is the student representative on the University’s Diversity & Inclusion Council and Secretary of the Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA). For his capstone project, he hosted Rainbow Bingo as part of his PR campaign for the LGBTQ+ community and also gave a presentation on inclusion and pronouns in the workplace.

Emerging Leader Award – Oyejadesola (Jay) Diya (Landsdowne, PA)

The Emerging Leader Award recognizes a first- or second-year student who has contributed significantly to the Mansfield community through their involvement in a campus organization, athletic team, residence hall, or a community service program. The nominee must also show significant potential for continued leadership and civic engagement.

A first-year biology student, Jay is involved in the Future Healthcare Professionals, Colleges Against Cancer, and the Black Student Union. He helped organize the Crucial Catch event on campus, a collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the NFL, and will lead as a Resident Assistant next academic year. Jay is described as someone who is often the first to arrive and the last to leave during meetings and events.

Innovation Award – MU Gardening and Sustainability Club

The Innovation Award recognizes an individual student or student group that has displayed innovation and/or fostered creativity through their program/events, in relation to recruitment, marketing, outreach to campus community, use of resources, officer training, event planning, and/or sustainability.

One of the newest student organizations on campus, the Gardening and Sustainability Club has worked in collaboration with the Facilities Department to grow and sell vegetables on campus while promoting sustainability. The club prepared beeswax as an alternative to plastic wrap, raising awareness of plastic pollution.

Outstanding Collaboration Award – Future Healthcare Professionals Club

The Outstanding Collaboration Award recognizes student group(s) that have best demonstrated their collaborative efforts in planning and executing a program and/or event with another student group, campus office, or with faculty/staff.

The Future Healthcare Professionals planned and hosted the Crucial Catch event in partnership with the American Cancer Society and the NFL during a home football game this fall. The event provided information about healthy diets and regular check-ups as a way to reduce the risk of cancer for fans in attendance and watching the game online. The event, which included the MU Colleges Against Cancer organization, also raised funds in support of the American Cancer Society.

Peer Educator Award – Cierra House (Sayre, PA)

The Peer Educator Award recognizes an outstanding student educator who shows leadership in helping support classroom centered activities by meeting with students to clarify and review concepts taught in the classroom.

Cierra has been the TriO Student Support Services math tutor for two years. Last year, she consistently met with students over Zoom for tutoring, and now with fully in-person tutoring, Cierra not only regularly meets with students, but proactively reaches out ahead of scheduled tests to make sure they are prepared for their exams.

Student Employee of the Year Award – Zach Ruth (Spring Grove, PA)

The Student Employee of the Year Award recognizes a student employee who goes above and beyond to demonstrate leadership in support of their department/office.

Working for the Hut, musical stage crew, Alumni Affairs, and as General Manager of the student radio station WNTE, Zach often touches all areas of the campus. He’s described as being always willing to drop everything and help out when he’s needed. Zach has been involved with homecoming, a celebration of life, numerous concerts, musicals, and operas and is responsible for many of the event posters seen around campus.

Program of the Year Award – Oliver Marvin (Lancaster, PA) and Matthew Strickler (Harrisburg, PA)

The Program of the Year Award recognizes innovative and outstanding achievement in the planning and presentation of a program or event by an individual student or student group.

In response to dietary challenges faced by students, Oliver and Matthew hosted Gluten-Free Feast on campus as a way to spread awareness of Celiac Disease and provide snacks and recipes. The event had a great turnout and was well-received by those who attended.

Student Leader of the Year Award – Hannah Swartz (Hummelstown, PA)

The Student Leader of the Year Award recognizes a student who has demonstrated excellence in academic growth and achievement, as well as excellence in campus and community engagement and has contributed to the campus community through their leadership and participation in campus programs, organizations, and activities.

Hannah has displayed leadership at Mansfield as President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, a member of the Mountaineer softball team, and an accomplished student in the geosciences program. Through her leadership, SAAC developed a student-athlete lounge in Decker Gymnasium and has raised funds to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation through a variety of campus events. She is known by classmates to be a resources for help with academics, even outside of her own major. She also is an active photographer on campus, taking photos for students and at athletic events.

Student Organization of the Year Award – Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA)

The Student Organization of the Year Award recognizes the consistent, positive impact on the campus community by a recognized student organization including the noteworthy achievements during the year by the student organization. This organization will have made a positive contribution to campus life.

A new club on campus, the Sexuality and Gender Alliance is actively creating a welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ students, employees, and allies. The group has already grown to a membership of 50 students and planned and executed a PRIDE Celebration to promote LGBTQ+ awareness.

The Creed Award – Order of Omega

The Creed Award recognizes an individual student or student group who most widely represents leadership and Mansfield’s four core values of Character, Scholarship, Culture, and Service.

Greek Life students admitted to the Order of Omega must be committed to academic success and have a focus on leadership. The Order of Omega participates in regular service events such as writing holiday cards delivered to hospitals and nursing homes, food drives, special olympics, fundraising for cancer research, working with the YMCA, and adopting a highway. The group aims to fosters a culture of inclusivity and openness.

Unsung Hero Award – Hannah Dimarco (Mansfield, PA)

The Unsung Hero Award recognizes a student who works behind-the-scenes of a student group or the local community. This award is given to a student who consistently gives their all, going above and beyond the call of duty on a regular basis without expectation of recognition.

As a work-study student for the campus Health and Safety Office, Hannah worked many hours assisting the University’s COVID-19 testing process. Her dedication to the testing processes on campus has aided in the identification and control of the spread of COVID-19 on campus during the pandemic. She never hesitated to assist when called upon, including evenings and weekends.