In honour of Robert Everett, a distinguished senior assistant secretary of the University who made extraordinary contributions supporting University governance for nearly three decades, President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton established in 2018 the Robert Everett Exceptional Leadership in Student Governance Award to recognize and celebrate students and their impact on governance at York University.
The student recipients are: Kimiko Clark, undergraduate, Multidisciplinary Studies (Environmental and Health Studies), Glendon Campus; Michelle Cobblah, undergraduate, Economics and International Development Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies; student senator; and, Moboluwajidide (Bo) Joseph, undergraduate, Communications and Creative Writing, Glendon Campus.
Clark was recognized for her passion, leadership, collegiality and inclusiveness, which her nominators stated were the hallmarks of her approach to student governance. In particular, they referenced her contributions to governance at Glendon, which were described as significant and lasting, including securing broad engagement of students and stakeholders in Faculty Council and Student Caucus, and the establishment of a process and a structure that brought representation of Indigenous students on Student Caucus. Particularly noteworthy to the panel considering Clark’s nomination was her role in actively striving to bring all voices and views to the table to foster full and fair deliberations to reach a better decision. Glendon faculty members were struck by her dedication to governance, as she served several roles and secured students to fill every seat on Faculty Council and its committees. Glendon students also wrote with equal praise of the mentoring Clark provided to ensure robust student governance carries on at Glendon.
Cobblah’s nominators spoke of her deep dedication, collegiality, respect and compassion, which they say is at the heart of her approach to student governance. They praised her contributions to the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, Senate and the University, which they said have been significant and lasting. Key among her achievements cited in the nomination was the revitalization of the Student Council of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (SCOLAPS) under her presidency, and her work to secure robust student participation on Faculty Council committees. Cobblah was also praised for pioneering the inaugural SCOLAPS-sponsored Mental Health Week to support students’ needs. The panel considering her nomination was struck by her selfless dedication to governance activities, not only in serving in many roles herself, but also in facilitating constructive relationships with College Councils and external partners to enhance student engagement and the quality of experience for all involved.
Joseph was recognized for his deep commitment to collegiality, inclusivity and diplomacy in his governance roles at Glendon. Nominators wrote of his contributions to governance at Glendon and the University, which they describe as being significant and influential. Through his leadership exhibited on the principal’s search committee, as the Glendon director for the York Federation of Students, and as a member of Faculty Council and its Policy, Planning and Nominations Committee, Joseph provided an influential and eloquent voice. He brought the student perspective to bear on complex governance matters. He was described as an exemplary ambassador of York who is “making a difference for the best … that will continue for years to come.”
All of this year’s nominees exhibited incredible dedication to supporting governance at the University. All three of these student recipients stood out for their passion, leadership, collegiality and inclusiveness, and their significant and lasting contributions to governance, which perfectly embody the spirit of this award. The members of the University Secretariat and the Senate of York University extend congratulations to these exceptional students. Their names will be added to the Student Award plaques in the Vari Hall rotunda.