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Student Leadership Awards Ceremony

Monday, 14 May, 2007

Over 100 students were recognized for their contributions to and involvement in the UOWD student community when the Leadership Awards Ceremony was held on Thursday, 10 May.

Certificates of Participation were presented to members of the sports teams, team captains, student club executives, UniCrew, UOWD interns, Intercon and ReachOut mentors by Professor Raed Awamleh, Dean Academic Affairs and Russell Rein, Senior Operations Manager.

The UOWD Dance Team entertained everyone with an exhilarating performance, demonstrating the form that won them several awards this year at inter-university dance competitions. The UOWD Performing Arts Club also performed, singing acoustic versions of current chart hits to the delight of the attendees.

The Awards Ceremony culminated with the 2nd annual presentation of the prestigious University Spirit Award and the inaugural Sportsperson of the Year Award.

Spirit Award 2006-2007

Spirit Award winner Elma Zahir receives her crystal award from Mr. Russell Rein, Senior Operations Manager and Spirit Award selection panel members Ms. Bridget Clifford, Mgr Student Services, Dr. Lejla Vrazalic, Chair College of Business and Mr. Kieran Ross, Mgr Academic Planning
The Spirit Award recognizes outstanding leadership and contributions to the student community. This year, eleven student leaders nominated themselves for consideration, providing the Selection Panel of Dr. Lejla Vrazalic, Chair College of Business, Mr. Kieran Ross, Manager Academic Planning and Ms. Bridget Clifford, Manager Student Services with the daunting task who determining who would be this years recipient.

The nominees were evaluated by the panel on demonstrated leadership skills across a range of activities, how well nominees presented themselves, their communication skills and academic performance. Kieran Ross said, "Im really surprised with the scope of activities undertaken by our students. Its truly impressive.

The Selection Panel awarded the Spirit Award to Ms. Elma Zahir, whose foundation of the Lighthouse Charity Club laid the ground work for growing awareness of the importance of charitable work by the UOWD student community. In addition to the work undertaken by Lighthouse, her work with the Bottomsley Orphanage in Bangladesh, her social work with Greenpeace and her representation of UOWD in academic contributions, combined with an academic record of High Distinction, clinched the award for the bright young student.

When presenting the award, Bridget Clifford said, "This award recognizes the student who demonstrated truly outstanding university spirit through his/her involvement and leadership in the UOWD student community during the academic year. Equally important it recognizes the student who through his/her behaviour and actions has left a lasting mark on the student community and who has changed the University for the better. The Selection Panel found Elma to be an inspirational student who showed outstanding leadership abilities. In fact FedEx has recognized the same characteristics in her, having selected her for their elite summer internship program.

Dr. Vrazalic added: "The UOWD Spirit Award for Leadership recognises students for their outstanding contributions to the UOWD and wider community. The recipient of this annual award must demonstrate initiative, self-confidence and the willingness to participate in the community at all levels. This year's winner, Elma Zahir, clearly demonstrated all three through her involvement in various activities, including those with the Lighthouse charity club, and it is wonderful that her achievements and contribution have been recognised."

The Spirit Award Selection Panel also choose to award two honourable mentions to Ms. Rohini Kamath and Xiaotong (Tornar) Yang, both of whom have made exemplary contributions to the student community through their activities.

Sportsperson of the Year Award

Mr. Ali Abdulrazak Alsalihiy receives the Sportsperson of the Year award from Mr. Russell Rein, Senior Operatios Manager and selection panel members Ms. Melissa Bos, lecturer and Mr. Franky Barreto, Sports & Recreation Coordinator

This year Student Services added a second award to the Leadership ceremony, introducing a new sports award. The Sportsperson of the Year Award was established to recognize the player who demonstrated outstanding conduct, involvement and leadership in UOWD sports during the 2006-2007 academic year. Franky Barreto, Sports & Recreation Coordinator stated, "This award will make students feel that their contributions in UOWD sports are recognised, and will help them take on more responsibilities, and show more leadership qualities and encourage sportsmanship.

Five worthy candidates were self-nominated for the award and interviewed by a Selection Panel consisting of Ms. Melissa Bos (lecturer), Mr. Jimmy Karam (Manager Residential Services) and Mr. Franky Barreto (Sports and Recreation Coordinator), who selected Ali Abdulrazak Alsalihiy as the Sportsperson of the Year.

The panel members felt that Ali had shown a lot of commitment and dedication to the UOWD basketball team, and has been an inspiration for the other players. Currently the captain of the team, he has also been an outstanding player, leading his team mates by example and bringing out the best from them. He is been respected by all his team mates for his leadership skills and sportsmanship.

Ali commented, "Being the captain of the UOWD Basketball team has helped me develop my leadership and management skills as well as take responsibility for my actions to the point that I have implemented these attributes at work and my every day life.

The Selection Panel also choose to award an Honourable Mention to Saad Malik for his exemplary sportsmanship. Melissa Bos commented on Saads contributions by saying, "Saad is an extraordinary sportsman. He truly has passion for a variety of games. His athletic ability and enthusiasm contribute to success of several UOWD teams. While he is very driven to win, he has found the value of friendships formed and relationships built through his participation

Jimmy Karam added: "I was thrilled to be on the panel and learn about the achievements of our athletes and sports teams. There is nothing more exciting to me than learning about a group of student leaders putting so much time and efforts to raise the UOWD high in all fields and competitions. To the student athletes I say We are so proud of you.

Bridget Clifford announced that the Student Services Department will expand the recognition of outstanding contributions by students by adding several new awards to the Leadership Ceremony next year, "In addition to the Spirit Award and the Sportsperson of the Year award, we will be adding five new awards for the 2007-2008 academic year. We want to highlight more outstanding contributions made by students in a wider range of areas.

The five new awards are:The Student Services Award for outstanding volunteerismThe Outreach Award for charity work both on and off-campusThe Intern of the Year Award for UOWD internsOutstanding Student Club for the outstanding student clubSuper S.T.A.R. Award for the outstanding participant in the S.T.A.R. Leadership program, which will be launched in September, 2007