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College Seeking ’Spirit of Emerson’

Nominations for the 2016 Spirit of Emerson Awards are due Friday, February 12, at 5:00 pm.

The Spirit of Emerson Awards are given annually to people or groups who embody the “Spirit of Emerson,” defined as “that which increases the radiance, reputation, pro-social organizations, and/or creative, positive expression of Emerson College.”

Any member of the Emerson community (students, faculty, staff, administration, alumni, Trustees, parents) may nominate someone who has been part of the Emerson community for at least a year. Recipients must meet at least 3 of 10 criteria, including advancing President Lee Pelton’s five strategic objectives, building morale, or making the College a better place.

Eiki Satake, associate professor of mathematics and statistics and chair of the Awards Committee, said for him personally, the “Spirit of Emerson” can be boiled down to four things:  motivating others, helping others to make the world better, respecting others, and the desire to make a “significant contribution to the world (large or small).”

Winners will be selected by a committee comprising faculty, staff, and students, and will be announced later in the semester.

“Often, there are people quietly setting the world on fire in any organization, and we want to give them just as much attention, thanks, and recognition as those who are widely known for their leadership,” said Tom Cooper, professor of Visual and Media Arts and the founder of the award, in a statement. “We hope that over the years, both types of colleagues—both public and quiet catalysts of inspiration, excellence, diversity, and radiance—will be honored.”

Nancy Howell, senior copy editor in Emerson’s Communications and Marketing Department, has served on the Awards Committee for the last two years. She said she was impressed with the slate of nominees last year.

“I think there are a lot of creative and innovative people here, and a lot of people go above and beyond their ordinary roles. I think it’s great to call them out and honor them in some way for being extraordinary,” Howell said.

Last year’s Spirit of Emerson winners were Nyla Wissa ’15, and three staff who created the Cirque de De-Stress program.

Wissa founded Flawless Brown, Emerson’s first women of color theater troupe, in Spring 2014. She was nominated for creating a safe space for women of color to act and share their experiences, as well as filling a need in the College’s artistic offerings.

The Cirque de De-Stress program was started by Diane Paxton, director of Student Accessibility Services; Patricia Challan, associate director of Emerson Counseling and Psychological Services (ECAPS); and Cate Hirschbiel, outreach coordinator at the Iwasaki Library. It aims to relax students during final exam periods through the use of therapy dogs, as well as food, yoga, and other wellness activities.

Howell said that so far this year, the committee has received about 20 nominations.

For more information, or to submit a nomination, visit the Spirit of Emerson Award page on the College website.

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