Duke Student Government members recognized those in the organization and the broader University community with awards for their contributions this year at their last Wednesday meeting of the 2021-22 academic year.
Senators nominated people for seven awards during the meeting and subsequently voted on the nominations. Four awards were given to members of DSG, one went to an administrator, another to a staff member and one to a DSG caucus.
Senior and DSG Executive Vice President Ramya Ginjupalli received the Paul Edwin Harner Award for commitment to the University through exemplary leadership to DSG.
The Reginaldo Howard Award for the member of cabinet who “best exemplifies the traits of excellent leadership, compassion and dedication” was given to sophomore Amber Miranda, a co-director of racial and multicultural diversity and outreach.
Prior to concluding nominations for the award, senators voted to suspend house rules so they could vote to give the award to everyone in this year’s DSG cabinet.
“Cabinet has been the most incredible body this year,” said senior and DSG Chief of Staff Shrey Majmudar. “If we could give the award to everyone, I would love that … I think that's quite special to have such a stellar [cabinet].”
Despite the vote to suspend house rules succeeding, the vote for the award did not end in a tie and Miranda won.
The Graydon John Forrer Award for integrity in legislative session was given to senior Matthew Ralph.
The Shrey M. Majmudar award, named after the current chief of staff, was given for its second year. The recipient this year, honored for going “above and beyond the call of DSG” and serving as a mentor in DSG, was junior Hana Hendi, vice president of sustainability and services.
The Dean Suzanne Wasiolek Award was given to Shruti Desai, associate vice president of student affairs.
“[Desai] has, especially as the chief diversity officer for Student Affairs, has done an incredible job of working and partnering with countless identity and affinity organizations and those students that typically have been left out of the conversation,” Majmudar said.
The Nannerl O. Keohane Award recipient was Lead Food Service Worker Wallace Burrows, who works at Marketplace.
“[Burrows] is honestly one of the most amazing people I’ve met at Marketplace. He’s someone who’s believed in me a lot and has always been a smiling face I can see,” said first-year David Surzykiewicz.
The Outstanding Caucus Award was given to the Student Wellness Caucus.
Ginjupalli, along with senior and president Christina Wang, gave speeches expressing their gratitude to this year’s DSG.
Ginjupalli expressed pride in this year’s DSG in her speech.
“I really can't say that I could be more proud of all you have accomplished this year,” she said.
Wang felt similarly to Ginjupalli.
“I'm grateful to each and every one of you for being here this year,” Wang said. “For putting in your time and effort, for sticking it out through everything we've endured, for taking what we do seriously, for speaking your truth, for living by your values. And most of all, for doing the work to make Duke better for everyone.”
In his speech, Majmudar offered words of wisdom, warning against doing things to build a resumé.
“Help DSG and Duke reach its potential. Invest in building relationships to drive true change,” Majmudar said. “Do things with pure attention and care deeply.”
“And in the process, don't forget to make sure that your priorities are straight,” Majmudar said.
In other business
Senators approved $2,109.39 in funding for Duke University Improv’s Big Show and $3,283.83 for Pureun’s JOURNEYS Pureun showcase. They also allocated $20,000 from the DSG General Fund to the SOFC Programming Fund to fulfill programming events.
Senators chartered the Hunting and Conservation Club, Duke Raas, an Indian cultural dance group and The Pitchforks, Duke’s oldest all-male a capella group. In addition, senators recognized the Robotics and Diving Club.
Senators also heard updates from the vice presidents of the Senate standing committees and confirmed the new associate justices and chief justice of the DSG Judiciary.
Senior and new chief justice Jonathan Griffin swore in those elected to office in the recent election, as well as incoming chief of staff Hana Hendi.
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Adway S. Wadekar is a Trinity sophomore and a university news editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume. He has also contributed to the sports section.