Student Alumni Association Leads the Way

Each year, the University presents the A. Robert Rainville Leadership Awards to students who have done an exceptional job balancing academics, community involvement, and volunteerism.

This year, the Student Alumni Association and its president won two of the five awards.

The Student Alumni Association (SAA), one of more than 100 student organizations on campus, received the team excellence award. The organization works under the advisement of Michelle Fontes-Barros ’96, M.A. ’11, assistant director of Alumni Relations, with the mission statement “Students helping students… past, present, and future.” The SAA, working as a close-knit team, plans various annual student events on campus, including the popular Rhody Rally and Oozeball, a mud volleyball tournament.

URI President David M. Dooley, left, with SAA President Anthony Aiudi, members of SAA, and the group’s advisor, Michelle Fontes-Barros holding the Rainville Team Excellence Award.

“I believe our organization, delegation, and spirit as a whole are the reasons that our organization is capable of putting together truly outstanding events and traditions,” said Danielle Giacobbe, SAA communications chair. “Without the dedication of every member in our organization, we would be unable to succeed.”

The president of SAA is Anthony Aiudi of Woonsocket, R.I. A dual pharmacy and M.B.A. student, Aiudi received the Student Leadership Award based on a variety of leadership experiences, including being a Kappa Psi pharmaceutical fraternity brother, a co-instructor and advisor in the URI 101 mentoring program, a resident assistant, and an orientation leader. While balancing academics and part-time jobs at pharmacies and hospitals, he has volunteered with URI Emergency Medical Services, Relay for Life, and the Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences (a science and math after-school program for elementary school students).

“College is a time to learn,” Aiudi said. “While classrooms are devoted to studies, involvement is devoted to personal growth. My involvement at the University has helped me grow and mature into someone who is ready to make a difference in the world.”

There were two Student Leadership Award winners this year. David Coates, a political science major, also received the award.