Faculty of Arts celebrates student leadership

Arts students and student associations were honored for their leadership and contributions to fostering a positive university experience at the annual Council of the Arts Students’ Association (CASA) awards ceremony June 10.

CASA, an active network of Arts program-affiliated clubs established in 2005, meets regularly during the year, often hosting events and ceremonies to recognize student achievements.

The CASA Celebration of Student Leadership took place at Vanier College with the Spirit of Arts award, which honours students for their exceptional contribution to an undergraduate association, going to Sarah Abbattista, president of the Sociology Undergraduate Student Association (SUSA); Sadaf Etemad Rezaie, president of the Business and Society Student Club; and Chantelle Tokarz, president of the Undergraduate Philosophy Student Association.

Right: Faculty of Arts Dean Robert Drummond (left) with the recipients and representatives of the Spirit of Arts Awards

"I’m extremely flattered and really happy to be here," said Abbattista. "We have past SUSA members here from 2006 to 2008, who have traveled to attend this awards ceremony today and that really means a lot to me."

In accepting the Spirit of Arts Award as well as the Outstanding Overall Contribution to Student Experience Award on behalf of the Undergraduate Philosophy Student Association, Tokarz called the awards a great honour. "I am thankful that York University has very supportive faculty and staff, which help their students create thought provoking, academic events. It means a great deal to be recognized within the York community and it gives inspiration to the future generations of undergraduate associations at York."

In addition to the Undergraduate Philosophy Student Association, this year’s recipients of The Outstanding Overall Contribution to Student Experience Award included the Business and Society Student Club, The Japanese International Students Association (JISA) and SUSA. This award honours a student association for their excellent contribution to the enrichment of the undergraduate student experience in their department of affiliation and in the Faculty of Arts.

"On behalf of our club I am very happy to be receiving this award," said Maria Pimentel, president of JISA. "When I joined JISA three years ago we had 80 members and now we are at 180."

Left: Recipients and representatives of the Alumni Award with Jeff Ball, manager of Internal relations in Alumni & Advancement Services (second left), and Bonnie Granata (right)

Two newly-established student associations, the Children Studies Student Association and the Undergraduate History Student Association, were this year’s recipients of the Outstanding Commitment to Student Engagement Award that honours new student associations in appreciation of their exceptional efforts in promoting student engagement in the Faculty of Arts.

Marilyn Lambert-Drache, associate dean of student relations in the Faculty of Arts, praised all student leaders and clubs for their outstanding contributions and congratulated the award recipients for having "distinguished themselves by their exceptional leadership skills and commitment to student engagement", while Faculty of Arts Dean Robert Drummond stressed the importance of recognizing student effort. "The focus today is on student engagement and we want to celebrate that. It’s important to recognize activities that are not necessarily in the classroom but help to support and sustain what goes on in the classroom and enrich your studies."

Jeff Ball, manager of internal relations in Alumni & Advancement Services, and Bonnie Granata, 2006-2007 president of SUSA who graduated in 2007, presented the Alumni Award for Commitment to Student Experience and Engagement to Vienna Chea, co chair, Criminology Society of York University; Umair Memon, executive director, Business, and Society Club; Maria Pimentel, president, Japanese International Student Association; and to the Business and Society Student Club. This award, sponsored by the Alumni Office, recognizes an individual student or a student association that has demonstrated commitment to enhancing the student experience and has demonstrated the linking of their co-curricular activities with Alumni.

"These awards are a good way to encourage students and show them that they can be rewarded for their hard work," said Chase Lo, co-chair of CASA in his closing remarks. "It’s a great way to network and take advantage of these connections which may benefit students in the future."

Submitted to YFile by Faculty of Arts communictions coordinator Georgette Charlicombe .