The West Virginia University Center for Civic Engagement has announced this year’s winners of the Excellence in Civic Engagement Awards.

On April 19, during the CCE’s annual Engagement Celebration, it will recognize exemplary representatives of each category with the Excellence in Civic Engagement Awards. The award presentation takes place as part of the seventh-annual Week of Engagement (April 16-21).

The awards, which were created in 2009, are dedicated to recognizing the most active and civically engaged among us at WVU. For 2012, the CCE expanded the award categories to include student organizations and local businesses. Each recipient has to have shown a strong commitment to civic engagement and service throughout the 2011-2012 academic year.

“This group of recipients represents the very best of WVU and our community,” said Dr. Kristi Wood-Turner, director of the CCE. “Their hard work and accomplishments speak for themselves, and we are proud to recognize each of them with these awards.”

The 2012 Excellence in Civic Engagement Award Recipients:

Dr. Rita Colistra – Faculty Excellence
Colistra is an assistant professor in the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism who is dedicated to service-learning and civic engagement beyond classroom requirements. Through West Virginia “Buy Local” initiatives, awareness campaigns for the Center for Civic Engagement, and Habitat for Humanity fundraising efforts, Colistra specifically tailors coursework to actively engage students and maximize community benefit and sustainability. Her commitment, enthusiasm and passion spread to all those who come into contact with her. One of her current students said, “She is not only a leader, but a trail blazer ready to show everyone the importance of service-learning, community service and civic engagement.”

Taylor Martin – Student Excellence
Martin is a highly involved undergraduate student studying English and communications. Since August 2011, Martin has completed more than 550 volunteer hours with organizations such as the Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center of Monongalia County and the Center for Organ Research and Education. As Berkeley County’s contestant for Miss West Virginia, Martin also participates in fundraising efforts for WVU Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Miracle Network. She is very involved with the Center for Organ Research and Education where she works on a media campaign to promote the necessity of organ donation. According to a fellow student, “It goes without saying that Taylor is a leader. She is dedicated to helping her community reach its capabilities.”

Lacey White – Student Excellence
Lacey White is a sociology and anthropology major, a resident assistant and president of Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity at WVU. Her focus as a resident assistant is to inform students of community service opportunities in the building and on-campus. White goes above and beyond her responsibilities as a resident assistant and has planned a variety of community activities for her residents, gaining a great deal of respect among residents and co-workers alike. She volunteers with many local organizations including the Shack Neighborhood House and the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. She also serves as a campus representative for WVU Wishmakers on Campus. A fellow resident assistant said, “Lacey is an amazing person, coworker and community member, because she is always striving to help someone when she is able ? She is the definition of a giver.”

WVU American Kids International Parents – Student Organization Excellence
WVU American Kids International Parents is a student organization that provides guidance and assistance to international students who have children. It connects students to necessary resources, builds a sense of community among international students and their families and advocates for the needs of international students. Among the organization’s various accomplishments: the club has recently petitioned and received parking for students with children at the WVU Student Recreation Center and received a First Book Grant donating $4,000 worth of children’s books to WVU Children’s organizations. By developing a program in coordination with the Morgantown Early Learning Facility, this organization has been able to meet the learning needs of children by sharing information about language, clothing, food, geography, and traditions of the parent’s native lands. The director of Morgantown ELF says, “We are fortunate to have such a fantastic resource in our community.”

Nancy Young – M-SNAP – Community Partner Excellence
Nancy Young is not only an administrative assistant in the Law Library offices but is also a founding member and dedicated Board of Directors Treasurer of Mountaineer Spay Neuter Assistance Program. M-SNAP advocates and has provided funding for more than 2,700 surgeries for Morgantown animal shelter pets. Young has been influential in the creation of M-SNAP’s current organizational structure, many fundraising initiatives, various community outreach efforts and various organization committees. She has actively been engaged with the Center for Civic Engagement since M-SNAP was founded and can always be found participating in campus service projects and fairs. A co-worker said, “Her contribution, passion and quality of work is priceless.”

The Boston Beanery – Local Business Excellence
The Boston Beanery concept was founded in Morgantown in 1983. The restaurants are patterned after old Boston pubs from the 1800s, which at the time were called Beaneries. There are currently six Boston Beanery locations in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Virginia. For the past six years, the Boston Beanery has served as the official sponsor of the annual Make a Difference Day program, which is WVU’s largest service project each year. More than 400 students participate each fall, and the Boston Beanery provides lunch for each volunteer. Over the past six years, they have contributed more than 1,600 lunches to volunteers. The Boston Beanery’s sponsorship is crucial to the success of the program each year. The Boston Beanery is truly a model business in the Morgantown community that makes corporate social responsibility a priority.



CONTACT: Brett White, Center for Civic Engagement

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.