Praising the leaders of today and tomorrow

Photo via Douglas College Student Services on
Photo via Douglas College Student Services on

Nominations close soon for Student Engagement Awards

By Mercedes Deutscher, News Editor


April 27 will mark the fifth year of Douglas College’s Student Engagement Awards, an annual celebration of students, grounds, and faculty that have made a positive impact in student life beyond the classrooms.

Nominations for the awards have been open since December 2016, with nominations closing on March 31.

The Student Engagement Awards aim to recognize student leaders both on and off of campus. Formerly, the event was coordinated by the Office of New Students and the Student Life Department for the student leaders that resided in said departments. In the past two years, that has expanded to include people from any of the student groups on campus.

“Student engagement is the idea that a student is learning outside of the classroom,” said Erica McKeddie, Coordinator of Student Engagement at Douglas College. “Whether those are leadership skills, or tangible, educational skills that they are not getting within their classroom.”

McKeddie emphasized the importance of cooperation with peers.

“It’s our job to help students network within their community on campus […] you probably have something to learn from one another because you are all leaders on campus.”

Several people are recognized for each of four awards, with each category receiving at least a dozen nominations. The Living Big Student Leader of the Year Award recognizes the work of two students who have improved life on and off campus. Douglas-based groups and organizations that have created a meaningful class project or who have contributed to their community can qualify for the Community Builder Group Project Award, which will be awarded to three groups.

Photo via Douglas College Student Services on
Photo via Douglas College Student Services on

It is not only students who receive recognition in the Student Engagement Awards. One faculty member will win the Outstanding Contribution to Student Engagement by a Faculty or Staff Member Award, while departments are eligible for Outstanding Contribution to Student Engagement by a College Unit or Department Award.

McKeddie spoke to the character of past award winners.

“They’re always very determined,” said McKeddie. “They are students that are not only excelling in their studies […] but they are also excelling in the things that they are doing outside of the classroom.”

“They’re students who have good reputations […] they’re well known amongst students on campus.”

Students and faculty cannot nominate themselves. Rather, students are nominated by other faculty, staff, and mentors. Faculty nominees are nominated by their students. A student can ask for a recommendation from these people, and are encouraged to do so even if they do not feel confident in their student engagement abilities.

Those who are nominated are reviewed by a selection committee comprised of faculty, staff, and administrators.

This year’s Student Engagement Awards will take place at the La Perla Ballroom in New Westminster, with presentations by Kathy Denton, president of Douglas College, and a keynote from Kyle Baillie, Director of Student Life and Development at the University of Fraser Valley. Baillie worked at Douglas College in the past and will be presenting on the value of student leadership. The presentations will be followed by a dinner and delegation of the awards.