By Keely Gendron, Staff Writer
Recently, upcoming senior Jamie Austin was recognized for her outstanding leadership qualities and presented the Michael Winston Award on the night of April 13, 2016, as UMF held it’s annual Leadership Banquet.
The Michael Winston Award is given to a student who has shown outstanding leadership and service to the university. The qualifications require being a full time senior, having a 2.0 GPA or above, and partaking in service and leadership roles within the university.
“I was super excited just to have been nominated,” said Austin. Austin was nominated by Lisa Ellrich, Associate Director of Admissions, and Vice President of Student and Community Services, Celeste Branham. She was thrilled to receive such outstanding letters of recommendations from both women.
Presented with the award on the night of the banquet was an even more incredible experience for Austin. “It was nerve-wracking to be on stage with Tom Winston, brother of the namesake for the award, who came to present it and has done so for many years,” said Austin. “I guess in his opinion, his words would have given it away so he announced my name, called me up, and then read part of one of the letters of recommendation.”
Austin is currently a political science major who has been involved with Student Senate since her freshman year. Since then, she has taken on the position of Officer of Financial Affairs for 2015-2016, but more excitingly, Austin has recently been elected President for the 2016-2017 academic year. “I am also involved with the College Republicans and served as club President from spring 2014-2016,” added Austin.
“I was interested in spreading the conservative message around campus and meeting people who shared my views,” Austin said. It is her friends that she has to thank for her participation. “They were in Senate and encouraged me to get involved, and when I did I totally fell in love,” claimed Austin. “I really enjoy making a difference, even in a small way for this community that I care so much about.”
“My passion happens to be helping to make UMF an amazing community,” said Austin. “I love this school. I think that helps too!” Austin also offered her advice for anyone looking to become more involved on campus or in the community.
“Stay involved in clubs and organizations, as they are one of the best ways to take on a leadership role at this campus.” But one does not necessarily need to be a part of a club or organization. “Just be a leader and if you have a passion, go after it,” encouraged Austin.
Every year, UMF hosts the Leadership Banquet, a night where those who stand out within the school community are recognized. The only thing that saddened Austin was the fact that the number of people who attended the banquet from each club had to be reduced. However, Liya Mindaye, leadership chair, further explained the reasoning for that.
“There are always new things popping up that needed to be handled, such as going over the limit in the amount of people we are allowed to have inside the dining hall.” In the end, Austin was honored to be recognized and was pleased for everyone else who won an award.