Student Citizen of the Year
Junior Brittany Naas received the title of Western Outstanding Student Citizen for the year of 2012.
The award, which is sponsored by the Monmouth/Independence Chamber of Commerce, is presented to students who are involved in service and/or volunteer activities in the Monmouth or Independence area.
According to the chairperson of the selection committee, Debbie Diehm, service activities can be done on-campus or off-campus, but they do not include practicum and internships that earn academic credit.
Any faculty or staff member can submit a nomination of a student during January. After the nomination process, the selection committee, which consists of staff members from each department in the Division of Student Affairs, reviews all of the nominations to eventually make the award selection.
Also, there is preference given to nominated juniors and seniors who have a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade-point average.
Naas shared her reaction after receiving the title: "I felt ecstatic for receiving this award and being honored for the service I have done. It re-lights my fire to get more involved and go out and serve."
For one, Naas has participated in various leadership roles and activities on-campus. She has served in several campus committees including the Search Committee for the Director of Center for Service Learning and Career Development, Student Health and Counseling Center Advisory Committee and the Student Retention Committee.
She has volunteered at the Teaching Research Institute's Child Development Center as well as the Center for Service Learning and Career Development. In addition, she served two years for the Students in Service program, which resulted in 600 hours of community service.
Naas was one of the 2011 co-coordinators for the Peer Leaders Understanding Students Team; she completed a project called Light Up Your Path Project to present to the campus and even her part-time jobs on-campus this year centered their services toward others.
Lastly, Naas fulfills the duty as the program assistant for all Western Alternative Break trips. In fact, she was a team member for an Alternative Break trip to Sacramento which worked with Habitat for Humanity.
Diehm noted Naas's continuation of activities. She said, "As one project winds down, [Naas] begins another service commitment. She is now planning and leading a team of eight students to fundraise and participate in the Students Helping Honduras Service Trip for this August."
The trip is a service learning opportunity that will help rebuild the schools in El Progresso Honduras.
As a result of her involvement and award, Naas was formally recognized at the annual Community Awards Banquet on March 9 which was sponsored by the Monmouth/Independence Chamber of Commerce. She will also be recognized at Western's annual Leadership Recognition Night on May 8.
For Diehm, the award's benefits include recognition at Western, Monmouth and Independence, which ultimately portrays a commitment of service to others and volunteerism year after year. "For 2012, it is [Naas] who stood out in the crowd," said Diehm.
As for Naas, the award is more than just recognition. She said, "This award is the satisfaction of knowing others can see how service impacts the community and how students are able to give their time back to the community that we live in."
Megan Habermann, Assistant Director in Student Leadership and Activities, described Naas as a "wonderful citizen of Western and Monmouth." Habermann said that she "has made considerable efforts to make the world a better place and consistently puts others before herself."
Naas will graduate in June 2013, and she hopes to continue her involvement through service. She intends to earn her master's degree in Higher Education in order to work at a university and ultimately make a difference in others' lives.
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