LGBT Students and Allies Honored at 2012 Student Life Awards
Student leaders from several LGBT organizations on campus and their allies were honored during the 2012 Student Life Awards, hosted by the U of L Student Activities Center. The annual event recognizes the accomplishments of students in a variety of areas and celebrates their contributions to a vibrant campus climate.
Six graduating seniors were honored with Katy Garrison LGBT Student Leadership awards: Dejai Herald, Ashley Auld, Crystal Newman, Lindsay Ferguson, Andrea Tucker, and Grace Howard. The award honors 2011 alum Katy Garrison, who played an important role in establishing LGBT support and services on campus and served two terms as commonGround president.
Said Newman of her award, "All of those late nights, early mornings, and hard work that was served in between became worth it. All those times I was happy, shed tears, and experienced overwhelming joy throughout the experience of being me is paying off."
Jessica Bellamy was honored as the Amber Carrier Student Ally award winner for her ongoing support and solidarity with LGBT students on campus. The award honors the work of graduate student Amber Carrier, whose contributions to the campus include establishing a graduate assistantship in the Office for LGBT Services.
Of her award, Bellamy said, "I wish that the word 'ally' didn't need to exist. Really all I've done is just be friends with people and fight for the rights of every person. There shouldn't have to be an award for someone who believes in human dignity and the entitlement of an individual to be an individual rather than a label."
Alison Voit won the night's biggest honor for a student leader, the 2012 Scholar Leader award and her nominator included her advocacy for LGBT issues as one of the factors that made her an outstanding nominee. And Emory Williamson was honored with the "Spirit of Diversity" award for his work in establishing the ally group Straight Against Hate, a community and campus effort to engage straight allies in the work of social justice. Williamson was awarded a Diane Rigney Student Activism grant by the office last year that helped him launch the ally group.
Award winners (left to right) Crystal Newman, Jessica Bellamy, Ashley Auld,
Director Brian Buford, Dejai Herald, and Andrea Tucker
Spirit of Diversity winner Emory WIlliamson and Caitlin Wills
Scholar Leader award winner Alison Voit (far right) with PEACC co-workers
Ben Donlon, Director Sharon LaRue, and Eric Klepp.