Student groups have awards ceremony

Rookie student organizations were one of the subgroups recognized Tuesday.

Ann Vogt knows it takes more than medical school to make a good doctor, just like “it takes more than college classes to make a contributing member of the community.”

The second-year medical student and co-president of the American Medical Student Association accepted an award Tuesday evening for Outstanding Graduate or Professional Organization of the Year at the Tony Diggs Excellence Awards.

The award ceremony, now in its second year, recognizes campus life programs and registered student organizations for their achievements during the previous year.

Awards recognized groups for their events, service projects and outstanding advisers during 2007. Rookie groups were also recognized.

Aaron Ledebuhr, co-president of the Veteran’s Transition Center, accepted the award for Rookie Registered Student Organization of the Year, one that goes to groups less than three years old.

“It goes to show that when any students put their minds to reaching out,” Ledebuhr said, “they can get things done to make a difference.”

The Student Network for Abuse Prevention worked with the University Student Legal Service Board to put together last fall’s “Gopher Gating” – an alcohol-free alternative to tailgating before two home football games.

The groups received the award for Outstanding Co-sponsored Program/Event.

Heather DeKeyser, the assistant undergraduate coordinator for SNAP, said it was “exciting to feel like we actually made a difference.”

The event is named in remembrance of Tony Diggs, director of the Student Unions and Activities office from 2003 to 2006.

He died after a long battle with cancer, but was known for his “larger-than-life” personality, and his ability to relate to students.

Vogt remembered him being at nearly every student event when she was an undergraduate from 2000 to 2004.

“For me and many of my friends and peers, he had such a positive influence,” Vogt said. “I see his influence now as we all go to grad school or on to our careers. I know they still think of him.”

A recognition program for student groups was something Diggs wanted to develop while he was director, but was never fully realized. He fell ill during early planning stages.

When Laura Knudson joined the staff in May 2006, part of her job was to put the plan in motion (Diggs died later that month).

“It seemed like a perfect opportunity to start the program and name it after him,” Knudson said.

Jerry Rinehart, vice provost for Student Affairs, spoke at the event and related Diggs’ past athletic prowess to his relationship with student groups.

“He knew how to make a team successful,” Rinehart said. “It’s important for students to learn how to work together to accomplish a common goal.”

Rinehart said the team aspect is what makes these awards special.

“Most awards here are individualistic,” he said. “Individual agendas can be fulfilled through a team effort, and these awards speak to the importance of that.”