Story submitted by Sharon Duffy
Each year, the Tom Cooper Spirit of Emerson Award and the Robert Colby Kindness Award are presented to community members who best embody what it means to be an Emersonian, and to those who demonstrate “generosity, teamwork, compassion, and ethics,” respectively. This year’s Spirit of Emerson Award winner is Associate Director of Health Services Lisa Viveiros, and Kasey McFerren, MFA ’23, won the Kindness Award.
Spirit of Emerson Award
The Spirit of Emerson Award is named for Visual and Media Arts Professor Emeritus Tom Cooper. The “Spirit of Emerson,” as defined by the SOE Committee features a “positive outpouring of the College’s activities, interpersonal relations, creations, diversity, and expression, including the spirit stated in Emerson’s mission statement and five strategic objectives.”
Anyone in the Emerson community may nominate any other community member, including themselves; nominations are evaluated based on 10 criteria.
After attending a conference last fall, Viveiros learned about a program that was successful in providing emergency contraception through vending machines and quickly mobilized to make that idea a reality here on the Boston campus.
She collaborated with numerous areas of the College to install an emergency contraceptive vending machine in the Little Building mailroom, accessible 24/7 to any student enrolled at the Boston campus at a cost much lower than products purchased at CVS or urgent care centers.
At the ribbon cutting ceremony on January 31, Viveiros said, “In a time when reproductive rights have been challenged, the Emerson Wellness Center would like to provide emergency contraception for our Emerson community that is affordable and accessible. As an individual who strongly feels that the need for access to services is so important, I decided that this would be a great addition to all of the services we currently provide to students.”
The Kindness Award is named for the late Performing Arts Chair Bob Colby, and honors a person (or persons) who spreads unconditional, unwavering, and selfless kindness among the Emerson community. Recipients should exemplify traits of generosity, teamwork, compassion, and ethics.
From the nominations, McFerren, a graduate student studying Theatre Education in the Applied Theatre MFA program – Colby’s area of expertise — is described as “the definition of kindness, and I think Bob Colby would have been so proud of her optimism, spirit of camaraderie, and genuine desire to lift everyone up.”
Following her hooding ceremony, McFerren hopes to bring joy to pediatric hospital patients through applied theatre.
Nominees for the Kindness Award must demonstrate a majority of six criteria to be eligible; McFerren checked off all six, according to committee members.
“If sunshine were a person, it would be Kasey McFerren,” one of her nominators said.