Raider Academy Awards honors remarkable student efforts

As spring term inches closer to the end of another school year, Southern Oregon University is making plans to honor the remarkable passion and dedication of students and student groups through the Raider Academy Awards.

This year there are eight major awards available to students, ranging from the Environment Stewardship to Diversity and Inclusion.

Although the Victor Mills Award, which caters to a senior student leader, is the only award that offers monetary compensation, just being presented with a certificate is a huge honor in and of itself.

Any student or student group is eligible to receive an award, providing that their efforts meet the criteria of the awards categories.

According to Ryan Green, associate director of Student Life for the Stevenson Union, the Raider Academy Awards has existed on campus since at least the 1990s, however the title it dons this year is new.

Danielle Mancuso, assistant director of Student Life for Involvement, has reached her fourth year in helping with the awards, which is hosted by the Student Life Office. She said the event has been called Just Desserts for the past three years.

Mancuso has many future ideas for simulating SOU’s award ceremony with the famous Academy Awards.

“We have turned our mascot, Rocky the Raider, into a gold statue resembling an Oscar, and intend to create actual trophies at next year’s event,” she said.

Working diligently with Katie Bergantino, area coordinator with the Residential Education and Services Office, and Jennifer Fountain, director of Student Life, Mancuso states that their goal is to “reimagine the awards to be an exciting event that students can look forward to every year.”

Green says that the event has changed over the years, from a ceremony for students from specific groups of SOU to honoring individual students from across campus.

“The point of the celebration is to recognize our students and the great work they do on campus,” he said. “We want to thank all of our student leaders on campus, not just the award winners.”

This year the awards ceremony will take place in the Rogue River Room at 4 p.m. on May 31. All students are encouraged to attend and show support for all the hard work and dedication their classmates donate to strengthening the soul of SOU.

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