USFSM honors leadership, school spirit with annual awards


SARASOTA, Fla. (April 20, 2015)  – Dana Arace is a “Bull-iever.” The Adventure Club is a “Rowdy Bull.” And Jay Riley, director of alumni affairs at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, proved to be the academic year’s best student organization advisor.

At its annual awards ceremony Friday night, USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Office of Student Engagement recognized the best in student achievement and campus involvement.

Sixteen winners – both student organizations and individuals – took home honors.

One group, the Adventure Club, captured two prizes: In addition to winning the “Rowdy Bull” award for leadership in promoting campus spirit, the fledgling group won the “Calf Award,” recognizing new student organizations that successfully grow membership and integrate their members into student activities.

Nominations for the dozen award categories are put forth yearly by USF Sarasota-Manatee students. The awards’ intent is to formally recognize outstanding leaders and organizations. An independent panel outside USFSM judged the nominees to prevent bias.

Riley, who won for “Organization Advisor of the Year,” said he was “humbled” by the experience.

“It was humbling because the nomination came from the students, so that’s one of the best compliments you can receive,” said Riley, who, like other nominees, had no knowledge of his winning selection beforehand, only that he was nominated.

Only registered students, employees and student organizations were eligible to win.

Arace, an admissions counselor and Adventure Club advisor, won the “Bull-iever” Award, which honors faculty or staff who show continuing support for campus co-curricular involvement.

The winners were named during a dinner at Marina Jacks in downtown Sarasota. In addition to Riley, Arace and the Adventure Club, they include:

Outstanding Leadership Awards

Freshman: Geborah Joseph-Smith

Sophomore: Jennifer Caba

Junior: Hannah Veitkus

Senior: Ashley Metelus

Grad: Elisha Evangelisto

Community Impact Award: Black Student Union

The Giving Bull: Bryan Jacobs

Exemplary Programming: BASBE

The Unsung Hero: John Akar

The Spirited Bull: Akash Mehta

Outstanding Student Government Employee: Michelle Teeter

Student Organization of the Year: USFSM Ambassadors

A public recognition also was held for Jeanine Ashforth’s Campus Compact 2015 Newman Civic Fellow award.