From identifying new ways to connect students via Zoom calls and computer screens during the COVID-19 pandemic, to being responsive in the face of nationwide political tension and movements highlighting social injustice, each office within the Division of Student Affairs has continued to excel in our mission to enhance student success, lifelong learning, and personal growth. This year’s IU Division of Student Affairs Award recipients have demonstrated exceptional creativity, expertise, and team leadership with the many challenges that came their way during the 2020-2021 school year. We would like to highlight the undergraduate and graduate student awardees and their accomplishments at IU that have exemplified the Division’s dedication to enhancing the student experience. Congrats to this year’s student winners!
Division Undergraduate Student Award
The Undergraduate Student Award is given to undergraduate student employees that exemplify the Division’s mission, vision, and values through the contributions they’ve made in their department and beyond. We are proud to recognize Ellianna Blake (Indiana Memorial Union) and Khyler Runnels (Student Affairs Marketing) as this year’s honorees.
Hospitality Ambassador (2020-2021)
During Ellianna’s time as an intern and as a hospitality ambassador for the IMU, she demonstrated an unparalleled excitement for learning about her position and providing exceptional customer service and hospitality. Whether she was working with the meeting and support staff, planning events, or housekeeping in Biddle Hotel rooms, Ellianna entered the building ready to take on the responsibilities handed to her with care and attention. She walked the floor with a smile while policing students about wearing masks, giving directions, and escorting guests – speaking with each one as if they were old friends, and making them feel comfortable during a time of stress. Ellianna’s upbeat nature undoubtedly made a positive impact on her coworkers, peers, and Biddle guests during her time there.
I can honestly say that I have never been so impressed by a student as I have been with Ellianna Blake… She found something valuable in each lesson she learned. Her excitement spread through every department she touched and a rise in energy if we knew she was coming in to work.
– Ellianna’s Nominator
Multimedia Photographer (2020-2021)
Khyler was an important fixture in the Student Affairs Marketing team since his arrival during the Spring 2020 semester. Khyler’s talent for commercial media production, adaptability, and willingness to go outside of his comfort zone gave a special flair to his videographic and photographic contributions to many DSA departments’ ad campaigns. This drive didn’t falter when the marketing and communications team had to shift its content towards almost exclusively digital media during the 2020-2021 school year. In concepting and creating promotional material for the DSA’s Care Referral program, IU Outdoor Adventures’ fall courses, Bowling and Billiards, the Student Health Center’s pharmacy delivery service, and many other projects, Khyler consistently exceeded expectations with his dedication and multimedia creativity.
Khyler was one of those student employees you don’t want to see graduate because they provide so much to the team. Khyler was dependable, knowledgeable, collaborative, creative, and has contributed so much quality content for our social media channels, websites, and beyond.
– Khyler’s Nominator
Division Graduate Student Award
This Graduate Student Award is given to graduate student employees that exemplify the Division’s mission, vision, and values through the contributions they’ve made in their department and beyond. This year, we congratulate Rebecca Aleman (Crimson Cupboard) as the Graduate Student Award recipient.
Graduate Director (2019-2021)
At the Crimson Cupboard Food Pantry, Rebecca contributed significantly to shaping the program over the last two years. While coordinating student volunteers, shopping for food, stocking shelves and greeting shoppers, Rebecca consistently exuded compassion with everyone she interacted with. When food insecurity became noticeably severe in the Bloomington area during the beginning of the pandemic, her welcoming, sincere disposition towards customers never changed. With her efforts in addressing food insecurity within the IU and Bloomington community head-on at Crimson Cupboard, Rebecca will continue to make tangible humanitarian change with her M.P.A. in Community and Economic Development from the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
The way she treated new and returning shoppers [at Crimson Cupboard] was wonderful. She made everyone that came through feel appreciated, like they were a part of the family.
– Rebecca’s Nominator
McKaig Student Award
This recognition award is given annually to undergraduate or graduate students that do not work for the Division of Student Affairs, but – through their leadership and involvement on the IU Bloomington campus – reflect all that the Division strives to achieve for its students. This year, we congratulate Kyrian (Ky) Freeman (Black Student Union) and Sadia Habib (Union Board) for their devotion to the IU student body.
President of Black Student Union (2020-2021), President of IU Student Government (2021-2022)
In the midst of a pandemic that has disproportionately affected BIPOC – compounded with the Black Lives Matter movement bringing worldwide awareness to the systemic, racially-motivated violence towards Black people in the United States – Ky has demonstrated a level of determination and commitment unmatched by previous years of student leadership as President of Black Student Union (BSU). After seeing the budding potential of BSU on the Bloomington campus, Ky spent two years expanding BSU programming, recruiting new members (through virtual and in-person events), and creating an internal leadership pipeline. Moreover, Ky led the Enough is Enough protest against police brutality impacting Black lives; met with university leaders to discuss ways to create a more equitable campus environment; and served on the IU Police Department’s advisory board, as well as university-administered diversity, equity, and inclusion panels. It’s clear that Ky has laid out a path for other student leaders to follow, and we’re excited to see what progressive, inclusivity-centered plans he’ll bring to IU as the 2021-2022 IU Student Government President.
[While leading Black Student Union], Ky Freeman has been advocating for systemic change as a citizen of the country and as a member of the IU community… He has been a vocal advocate for increasing cultural competency for all students, staff, and faculty, and… [as IU Student Government President], I know we will see him continue to make positive change on the campus…
– Ky’s Nominator
Director of Social Impact (2019-2020), Vice President of Finance (2020), President (2020-2021)
Sadia’s dedication and efforts over the past three and a half years to Union Board has been deeply rooted in empathy, flexibility, and attentive consideration to the values and concerns of her peers. While Sadia served for two years as the Director of Social Impact for the 111th Board of Directors, she and Co-Director Anthony Morales successfully found ways to pivot student programming towards a virtual setting. One of these ways was through the Social Impact podcast series, where they would speak with other students and staff on relevant topics, like life during COVID-19 and IU’s response to the ongoing violence towards BIPOC in the United States. When Sadia later became Vice President of Finance for the 111th Board, she worked diligently to move the mission of Union Board forward through revamping budget proposal processes, as well as implementing strategic ideas for reframing the existing collaboration and sponsorships process. Now, as President of the 112th Union Board of Directors, Sadia has several big plans to set in motion, like initiating an equity audit; better focusing on the IMU’s art; finding ways for the IMU to be more inclusive and celebrate diverse students; and building collaborative strong relationships with campus partners and student organizations. Sadia’s ability to quickly reconfigure, willingness to challenge the status quo, and familiarity with student interests and needs has made her an astonishing role model throughout her time at IU.
I continue to be impressed with her work ethic, dedication to Union Board, and ability to be creative – knowing that just because things have been done one way [for some time] does not mean that [it] needs to continue [to be that way].
– Sadia’s Nominator