Thursday, March 24, 2011
Two students awarded first ever WGS leadership and service awardBy Katie Land, news editor
Oakland University students Alexa Van Vliet and Emily Eisele have been selected as the first ever recipients of the Barbara B. Hamilton Leadership and Service Award, from the Women and Gender Studies Program.
Named after longtime OU professor Dr. Barbara Hamilton, the award recognizes outstanding student achievement, demonstrated leadership abilities and commitment to service in the Oakland community and surrounding community.
The recently retired Dr. Hamilton was the 2009 recipient of the Phyllis Law Googasian Award for her work in establishing and supporting the WGS major and minor, and for promoting gender diversity on campus. Dr. Hamilton also helped create the annual Women and Gender Studies Film Festival, now in its 28th year.
“Barbara Hamilton was instrumental in bringing and supporting OU’s Women and Gender Studies program,” said Jo Reger, director of the WGS program and associate professor of sociology. “This award is our way to honor Barbara by recognizing the service and leadership of our students.”
Each of the two students being recognized have spent extensive amounts of time performing a variety of volunteer work.
Van Vliet’s time at OU has been spent promoting cultural and gender diversity on campus. A Resident Assistant in the Honors College, Van Vliet has also been involved in the Gender and Sexuality Center, Gay/Straight Alliance, the S.A.F.E program (Students, Administrators and Faculty for Equality), and more. She has also coordinated several events and organized multiple fundraisers and collected donations for charity.
Eisele’s work has been largely in the surrounding community, working with the Lighthouse and HAVEN centers, as well as coordinating a community garden in Hamtramck, hosting an outdoor classroom for elementary students, and collaborating with the Michigan Young Farmer’s Coalition. She has also served with the Women’s Issues Forum, Gender and Sexuality Center and Students for Choice at Oakland.
“When you look at today’s student body, you can see that our students lead very complex lives, with multiple jobs, family commitments and schoolwork,” Reger said. “It is wonderful to see two young women who have given so much of their time to the Oakland community and the community at large. I’m overwhelmed when I see that in the midst of everything else, they are still able to commit to making our community a better place.”
Van Vliet and Eisele will be recognized at a WGS luncheon held on Thursday, March 31.
Oakland’s WGS major and minor were officially established in 1999, stemming from an academic concentration. For more information about WGS programs and events, view the website at oakland.edu/ouws.