May 12, 1997

1997 Middlebury College Public Service Leadership Awards

For the fourth consecutive year, Middlebury College Volunteer Services brought community and College together for the Public Service Leadership Award dinner, held in May to honor Middlebury College students who have provided volunteer services on campus or in the community during the school year. Nominated by student peers, community individuals, College organizations, and organizations in the Addison County community, some 26 students received certificates recognizing their outstanding service, and six received Public Service Leadership Awards from the College through the Patrick J. Durkin ['79] Fund. Middlebury College's Director of Student Activities Tiffany Sargent received a standing ovation when she was given a special award of her own, presented to her by Mr. Durkin for her years of dedication to the program.

It is estimated that half of Middlebury College's students have been engaged in community service projects or service-related initiatives this year. Over 300 students are involved in ongoing projects, providing a minimum of two hours per week for dozens of agencies and individuals, coming to more than 15,000 hours of student volunteer effort per year-the equivalent of more than seven people working for the needs of the community full-time, year-round.

Of the 26 students nominated, six received the Public Service Leadership Award's "Plaque of Appreciation," and will have their names engraved on a service recognition plaque to be permanently hung in the McCullough Student Center. Recipients were Noami DeVore '97, for her leadership and service to Habitat for Humanity; Karu Kozuma '98, for the Middlebury College Volunteer Services Program; Alex Lee '97, for his environmental initiatives, leadership, and service to the Otter Creek Audubon Society; Maya Thiagarajan '98, for Addison County Community Friends; Kate Walker '99, for the Addison County Women in Crisis Center; and Cris Dima '99 and Mike Koehler '98, who together accepted the award on behalf of the whole Middlebury College Mountain Club, for its initiative, leadership and service to Evergreen House, a psycho-social club affiliated with the Counseling Service of Addison County and designed to help reintegrate people back into the community.

President John McCardell addressed the group before presenting the honors, saying, "These awards and citations presented to students rank among the most noteworthy achievements the College recognizes. Through the efforts of student volunteers from this campus, the lives of people throughout the broad community in which we live are improved." Keynote speaker for the dinner was Victor Swenson, executive director of the Vermont Council on the Humanities, who also commended students on their public service efforts.

A cash award has been given to the following organizations, chosen by each award-winner and donated in his or her name: the Addison County Community Action Group; the Addison County Community Friends; Evergreen House; Habitat for Humanity; Otter Creek Audubon Society; and Addison County Women in Crisis.

Award selection was based upon demonstrated dedication to a cause, helping to make a change for an individual or for the community, and increasing the awareness and involvement of Middlebury College students in that area of public service. Each nomination was returned to the Student Activities Office and reviewed by a committee of College students, faculty, and staff.