Stong students give back

Focused on enriching the student experience, the Stong College Student Government has made a donation of $25,000 to the York University Foundation to establish The Stong College Student Life Award.


Above: Tassos Siatras

“We created this award to recognize outstanding leadership efforts and to reward those who show exceptional dedication to college life,” says Tassos Siatras, executive Chair of Stong College Student Government and a third-year BBA student. “Speaking for myself, the best training in management and leadership I ever received was through my involvement with student government. Hopefully, this award will encourage others to also develop these important skills.”

As a needs-based award, the gift will receive dollar-for-dollar matching from the Ontario government through the Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund. Once endowed in May of 2005, the award will generate enough income to provide one recipient with as much as $2,250 per year,  in perpetuity – a significant boost for York students, approximately two-thirds of whom must work part time to afford living expenses and the rising cost of an education.

The ideal recipient, council members say, would be a student who complements and supports the many efforts of the members of council by helping to lead and organize events. Eric Willis, master of Stong College, describes that person as someone with “the will to take initiative, to get involved, and to place the welfare of the Stong neighbourhood community as one of their top priorities while at York.”


Above: Members of the Stong student council, from left to right, Farra Yassin, Anna Vassiliou, Tassos Siatras, Nicole Batcher, Michelle Groat, Cayla Martin, Derek Richardson, Lindsay Hibbs and Prashant Matta.

Last year, Stong students organized various events for the Stong community including a ski trip, semi-formal dance and midnight laser tag. They arranged for the sale of tickets for students to go and see the musical Mamma Mia. Stong students also reached out to the external community: in May, 30 Stong students ran a very successful children’s carnival day at a local public school near Jane and Lawrence, with council-sponsored prizes and props. Faculty of Education student, Cayla Martin, who was doing her placement at the school, initiated the event.

“This award demonstrates the very qualities Stong students wish to recognize – leadership and community spirit,” says Bonnie Neuman, York vice-president students. “We applaud the Stong College Student Government for taking the lead and choosing to make such a future-focused, generous gift.”

One of 17 funded student governments, Stong College Student Government prides itself on its people and its spirit, supporting the college’s four major themes – the art of discourse through language and literature, sport as a social and historical institution, multiculturalism, and social commitment.

“As much as students want to have fun through events, they also recognize the importance of using our money to do the best for the community,” Siatras says. “It’s a great way to ensure the growth of the Stong community and to encourage students to get involved in college activities.”

This story was submitted to YFile by Carrie Brodi, communications officer, York University Foundation.