Former Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek got an award for her dedication to undergraduates on Wednesday—and it happens to be named for her.
Members of Duke Student Government expressed appreciation for people who have made especially meaningful contributions to the community this year by nominating them for awards in a virtual Wednesday meeting.
The Senate put forward nominees—both DSG members and other Duke community members—for seven awards before and during the meeting, before voting on winners. Four went to students in DSG, two went to faculty and one went to a DSG caucus.
The Dean Suzanne Wasiolek Award, which has been given in past years and recognizes an administrator for considering undergraduate concerns, was given to namesake Sue Wasiolek, the renowned former dean of students. The new Shrey H. Majmudar Award, given to a member of DSG for exceptional dedication to students, was similarly given to namesake Shrey Majmudar, DSG vice president of academic affairs.
Senior Aly Diaz, vice president for Durham regional affairs, received the Paul Edwin Harner Award; DSG Director of Communications Kami Pullakhandam, a junior, received the Reginaldo Howard Award; and Hana Hendi, a sophomore, received the Graydon John Forrer Award.
Tearria Beck-Scott, associate director for student engagement, received the Nannerl O. Keohane Award, and the DSG Latinx Caucus won the Outstanding Caucus Award.
Senators also exchanged words of gratitude for each other’s hard work, including for seniors about to graduate.
“I just want to take a moment and recognize all of the DSG senators, [vice presidents], members of cabinet who have been in DSG for their four years here at Duke,” sophomore Devan Desai said. “Big congratulations to everyone. Thank you for your incredible service over the past four years, and we wish all of our seniors the very best of luck as they move forward.”
Diaz, DSG president Tommy Hessel and Senator Jimmy Toscano were recognized for their contributions as seniors. Hessel and Diaz have served in DSG all four years of their Duke careers, and Toscano began this year.
“A shoutout to Jimmy for just being willing to dedicate his knowledge that he’s acquired throughout to Duke, I think that speaks a lot about his characters,” Díaz said.
Diaz also asked younger members to continue their involvement for the rest of their undergraduate tenure. “We really wish there were more people who spent four years in DSG, who stayed in DSG throughout their time. If I were to give a piece of advice, just try to stay connected,” Díaz said.
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Three different research teams from the DSG Research Unit also presented their findings from various semester-long surveys conducted of the Duke student population.
The first team presented on food insecurity among undergraduates and how COVID-19 has exacerbated its effects.
“Food insecurity generally has been correlated with declining academic performance and tends to impact working students or those facing housing insecurity at higher rates,” sophomore Dana Guggenheim said.
The team found from the results of a Qualtrics survey distributed to Duke students that students on financial aid tend to experience food insecurity at higher rates than other students. The survey had 67 respondents.
The second team assessed sustainability practices among the undergraduate population, asking students in a survey how aware they were of opportunities such as composting and how often they took advantage of them. Team members hypothesized that students were generally unaware of the ability to compost in campus dining halls and thus unable to do so and found this to be true based on survey results.
The third DSGRU team conducted a survey on campus housing and what degree of community students feel they experience there. “We also wanted to understand how students feel about the upcoming changes in residential life because of [Next Gen Living and Learning 2.0 Committee],” sophomore Karam Oubari said.
The team found that most students who responded do not feel a strong sense of community in their dorm.
The team was especially interested in how first-years this year feel about community and predicted that first-year students living on East Campus would report higher degrees of dorm community than their counterparts on West Campus. The opposite, however, proved to be true—possibly because of FOCUS clusters residing on West Campus.