Every year CACTUS teams up with the Center for Public Service and the Undergraduate Student Government to celebrate and award students, student organizations, and community partners that have gone above and beyond in the past year. A huge congratulations to all who were nominated this year, and here are the winners of the 2015 Community Involvement Awards!
Outstanding Student Leader of the Year Award:
This award is given to students who exemplifies outstanding leadership of community service or service-learning students. Nominees must demonstrate excellence in project management, exhibit initiative, be resourceful, savvy in maintaining campus and community relationships, or be directly responsible for the development and management of a volunteer project on behalf of a student organization, community agency, or service-learning class.
Student Winners: Abi Mbaye , Kiersten Rankel , Lipaz Avigal , Chardee Bryant , Allison Conn, Samantha Dietz
Outstanding CACTUS Organization of the Year
This award is given to one CACTUS organization or project that has successfully engaged members of the Tulane and New Orleans community, positively influencing the lives of both their community partners and the organization’s members in exemplary fashion. Nominees must demonstrate excellence in project management, exhibit initiative, be resourceful, savvy in maintaining campus and community relationships, or be directly responsible for the development and management of a volunteer project.
Student Organization Winner: TUSTEP , The Hunger and Homelessness Action Team of Tulane , Tulane Alternative Breaks
Outstanding Community Partner of the Year Award
This award is given to one community partner who exemplifies outstanding leadership of community service or service-learning students. Nominees must demonstrate excellence in project management, exhibit initiative, be resourceful, savvy in maintaining campus and community relationships, or be directly responsible for the development and management of a volunteer project on behalf of a student organization, community agency, or service-learning class.
Community Partner Winner: PlayBuild NOLA , Women’s Leadership Council of United Way of Southeastern Louisiana , New Orleans Children’s Advocacy Center , Life City , Louisiana Capital Assistance Center , Our Voice/Nuestra Voz , Youth Leadership Council
This award is given to those who have made unique or innovative contributions in public service. Nominees’ pioneering contributions have been outstanding and unique; and their efforts have “blazed a trail” for others to follow in one or more of the following areas: volunteer engagement, philanthropy, social justice, advocacy and awareness, social entrepreneurship.
Student Organization Winners: Sylvia Son & Morgana Dottavi / The International Society
Student Winner: Sunshine Best , Chardee Bryant , Brianne Sullivan , Samantha Dietz
Community Enrichment Award
This award is given to those whose work has made an exceptional contribution in the following areas: arts education, supporting local artist and cultural traditions, or utilizing arts and culture to address important social issues in New Orleans.
Community Partner Winner: Community for a Better New Orleans
Social Justice Advocacy Award
The Social Justice and Advocacy Award honors outstanding activism and recognizes commitment to principles that promote human and civil rights and social change. Nominees must have made significant efforts to increase awareness, mobilize communities, and catalyze social change to systemically address social inequities on a local, national, or global level.
Student Winner: Samantha Dietz , Lilith Winkler-Schor , Abi Mbaye
Environmental Change Award
This award recognizes the outstanding environmental achievements and contributions in the fields of environmental justice, waste reduction, conservation and restoration. Nominees must demonstrate commitment and effectiveness in improving the state of our environment in the areas of protecting natural resources and or raising awareness about reducing energy consumption.
Student Organization Winner: Life City , Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana
Student Winners: Liat Perlin
Community Partner Winner: Global Green
Commitment to Children Award
This award recognizes sustained efforts in improving the quality of life, health and educational opportunities for New Orleans children and their families. Nominees must have made a significant commitment to making a difference in one of the following four categories: helping others to learn; fighting for children’s rights and well-being; teaching life skills and personal responsibility; and increasing educational and economic opportunities.
Student Organization Winner: Women and Youth Supporting Each Other
Student Winner: Adrian Garcia , Samantha Dietz
Community Partner Winner: Center for Restorative Approaches
Outstanding Campus Partner Award
CACTUS relies heavily on support from many different departments on campus and would not be successful without their continued dedication. This award recognizes one campus parter who went above and beyond expectations in the past year.
Winner: Tulane Shuttles and Transportation
Donald Mintz Award
CACTUS began in 1968 when Donald Mintz decided to start a service organization focused on helping students get into college. His inspiration and drive quickly helped the organization evolve over the years to include over 30 projects. This award is given to honor a student who embodies that same passion that Donald Mintz had and who inspires people the same way.
Winner: Ryan Hitchens
Vincent N. Ilustre Founder’s Award
This award, named in honor of Vincent Ilustre, the executive founder of the Center for Public Service, recognizes a senior undergraduate student who has made a lasting positive contribution to the community of public service on campus. Embodying the spirit of our school’s motto, Non Sibi Sed Suis, this senior will have founded a sustainable organization and helped make it bloom throughout their time here at Tulane. From the wise guidance of this founder, it shall continue to flourish long after they have departed
Winner: Natasha Topoliski
Jena Hellman Leblang Emerging Leader Award
The Jena Hellman Leblang Emerging Leader in Service Award was established in recognize the work of one undergraduate student who is following in Mrs. Leblang’s path by bringing smiles to the faces of those who need it. This student, like Mrs. Leblang, will have dedicated their time to enhancing the quality of life of those around them through volunteering, organizing, donating and, above all, caring. Mrs. Leblang may no longer be with us, but her spirit of selflessness and generosity lives on in the Foundation, this award, and the many individuals who believe that everyone needs a smile.
Winner: Trey Holmes