2013 Recipients


2013 Student Employee Award Recipient

Shawn Miner – is a senior, and Sociology major with a concentration in Criminal Justice, from Providence, RI. He has worked for the Building Services department in the Memorial Union since 2011, and has advanced to the position of Senior Building Manager. Since 2010, he has also been a member of the URI Emergency Medical Services, and currently holds the dual position of Corporal and Recruit Training Coordinator. As a Building Manager, Shawn’s responsibilities include daily opening and closing of a major campus facility, supervising special events often with several hundred attendees, managing complex situations that arise unexpectedly, overseeing space access in a large building, and enforcing building policies fairly and consistently. Building Managers must possess the knowledge and confidence to work independently and make sound decisions, often with minimal direct supervision. Shawn’s position as Senior Building Manager requires him to function both as a team member and team leader, training, guiding and supervising other members of the Building Services staff. His outstanding reputation, as well as his dedication and commitment to quality customer service, and the URI community as a whole, have led to Shawn’s being selected to work on special projects, to revise and rewrite procedures and protocols, and to serve as a liaison for interdepartmental committees. One of his references states, “Shawn has proven to be an effective leader who enjoys mutual dialogue and seeks knowledge in all situations”, while another says “…his ‘go-above-and-beyond’ work ethic has been extraordinary. His keen intelligence, unassuming style, and depth of character have been key to his successes.”


2013 Robert L. Carothers Servant Leadership Award Co-Recipient

Melissa Reilly – enacts the characteristics of Servant Leadership in everything that she does. Her giving personality allows her to listen, to be empathetic, and to truly commit to creating positive change for those that she works with, and for. As a Pharmacy major, an RA, an Orientation Leader, and an Americorps Service Fellow, Melissa chooses to connect people – to each other, to continued service opportunities, and to the existing needs in the community – in order foster positive change. Most impressive, however, is Melissa’s ability to inspire others to serve. According to a nominator, Melissa “simply and quietly puts her head down and leads by example, not expecting or needing anyone to notice her effort, gutting it out and making a difference… she inspires you to run along beside her. But if you are too tired that day to join her, that’s fine too; she’ll be out there regardless…humbly inspiring others, and getting it done.”


2013 Robert L. Carothers Servant Leadership Award Co-Recipient

Mecca Smith – described by one of her nominators as a student leader with “a deep and abiding concern for a variety of social issues”, Mecca has sought out numerous leadership roles as a Peer Advocate, a Student Admissions Representative, and as a URI 101 Mentor to educate, inform, and inspire others during her time at URI. Mecca has utilized her talent and passion as a steward and to build community – from creating a documentary film highlighting environmental and economic sustainability in Belize, to participating in nonviolence training initiatives in Nepal, as well as immersing herself in the sustainability concerns of the people of Oaxaca, MX during her most recent winter break. As a servant first, Mecca has chosen to empower students who may be less privileged and underrepresented and has done so in her own words by “repaving (or paving) a new path for others to follow”. And as a result, this double major in cultural anthropology and film studies, and double minor in leadership and peace studies, has indeed inspired countless others to lead and to serve.


2013 Student Leadership Award Recipient

Elena Dempsey is a senior from Rhode Island majoring in Global Business Management and Chinese Language and Literature with a 3.77 GPA. The involvement for Elena on campus is all encompassing and lengthy. She has been a member of the Student Entertainment Committee as vice president and president of the Special Events subcommittee, member and president of the Colleges Against Cancer student organization and within that Chair of the Relay for Life program on campus. Elena has also worked as a Tour Guide and with the Chinese Language Flagship Partner Program. One of her unique experiences was to work and go to school in China for a year. As Elena explains it, “Going to foreign country, especially one that is so different from home was an ultimate test of my personal growth during my time at URI. I was contemplating how to live day to day successfully. Things such as ordering food, taking a bus, or trying on clothes changed from a simple task to one that tested my communication skills, in Mandarin, my networking skills and my confidence in myself.” As one reference states, “Elena’s strong work ethic, dedication to excellence, and exuberant, winning personality make her a wonderful ambassador for URI.”



2013 Team Excellence Award Recipients

(S.A.V.E.S) – URI Students Actively Volunteering and Engaging in Service (S.A.V.E.S) is working to increase the amount of students volunteering on campus and in the surrounding community. A recommender estimates that since the organization’s inception in 2010, members have completed over 7,500 hours of community service. Their dedication, passion, leadership, and hard work is evident in their service with Habitat for Humanity, Alternative Spring Break programs, and community service projects both small and large throughout the year. Described as “mature and respectful,” URI SAVES maintains a listserv of over 100 active students and strives to complete 3 projects per month. Says one recommender, “by working as a team rather than individuals, URI SAVES leverages the power of the group to accomplish more than would otherwise be possible.” Recommenders emphasized that members of URI SAVES “reflect the best of the enthusiasm and idealism of URI,” and are “excellent role models for what a small group of dedicated individuals can accomplish.”

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