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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, May 19, 2024

TCU Senate hosts second annual Leadership Gala

The Senate celebrated leaders of Tufts student organizations.

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TCU Senators pose on the staircase of the Joyce Cummings Center following the second annual Leadership Gala on April 7.

The Tufts Community Union Senate hosted its second Leadership Gala on April 7, honoring leaders of the student organizations and clubs at Tufts for their commitment to leadership. Five different awards were handed out to a total of eight winners, with several awards having multiple recipients.

TCU Treasurer Dhruv Sampat introduced the awards. Sampat explained that “the treasury budgeted $2.8 million to 450 student organizations this year,” the highest numbers in its history. He emphasized the dedication that has gone into realizing the goals of student organizations and making extracurricular activities more accessible at Tufts.

“The Tufts community is exceedingly resilient, visionary and persistent like none other,” Sampat said. “Each of you here have worked tirelessly to execute your student organization and your class goals and visions.”

The Jumbo Pride Student of the Year award was awarded to junior Madeline Cortesi, the current social media coordinator and 2023 head cheer captain of Tufts cheerleading.

“It’s just so wonderful.. … I love my team so much, and I’ve been with them since I came into Tufts, and I’ll be doing my last year with them. I don’t know what next year is going to look like, but it just feels really exciting,” Cortesi said. “I have put a lot of my love and my work into the team. And it’s just so special to be able to celebrate that.”

Sophomore Petra Tannous, vice president of the Arab Student Association, won the Emerging Student of the Year award and senior Maya Ng-Yu, co-president of Tufts for Health Equity, won the Equity & Inclusion Student of the Year award.

The winners of the Student Advocacy Student of the Year award were junior Elizabeth Marte, co-president of Tufts Timmy Global Health and senior Emilia Rosinski, co-president of Jumbos for Nonprofits. Marte helped secure funding to send students on a service trip to the Dominican Republic, and Rosinski helped rebrand Jumbos for Nonprofits, originally the Tisch Council for Philanthropic Leadership.

“I just want to thank all the people in my club and my co-president Gawon,”  Marte said. “We have worked really hard to make this trip happen after the pandemic, and I’m just super happy to see that people who come from low-income backgrounds are able to take advantage of global health opportunities. And I hope that we all just keep working towards making this space more equitable for everyone, no matter their backgrounds.”

The winners of the Outstanding Students of the Year awards were juniors Max Harrington and Natasha Wan, project leads for the Malawi Chapter at Tufts Engineers Without Borders, and junior Aneth Fernandez, peer student coordinator for the Tufts College Access and Mentoring Initiative.

“[Winning this award] is something I did not expect,” Fernandez said. I’m just so proud to be able to represent all the people who are really just working tirelessly to bring awareness to the fact that we are in a position of privilege as people who were first-generation, low-income, who had access to College Access Organizations. Being able to give back to the communities in our area, Medford, Somerville, the general Boston area. … Helping [students] be able to reach their goals … is very, very exciting.”

Award recipients were chosen via a nomination process where any undergraduate student could nominate someone for one of the awards offered. Then, a selection committee of Senators reviewed the applications blindly, only having information about what the candidate had done in clubs. Finally, there was a voting process moderated by TCU President Arielle Galinsky.

“[The Leadership Gala] began when we realized just how much student leaders were doing on this campus, and how little recognition that they were effectively getting from the university,” Galinsky said. “If you’re not part of that club or organization, you really just were not aware of all the amazing work that was being done.”

Galinsky hopes to continue the Leadership Gala as an annual event to recognize leadership in Tufts’ clubs and organizations.

“We interact with student leaders and student groups almost on a daily basis, we know all the amazing work going on,” Galinsky said. “So we want to bring that to the surface by putting together this leadership gala event, as an annual thing to commemorate all of the amazing things that student leaders are achieving on this campus and to build a more collaborative future between student groups and student leaders.”