Luther College presents third annual student leadership awards

Luther College's Launching Luther Leaders program announced the recipients of the third annual Student Leadership Awards to individuals and groups for their contribution to the college's mission of service at their banquet held Sunday, May 3, on the Luther campus.

Nicholas Fisher, food and farm fellow in Sustainability, began the award presentations with the speech, "Service & Leadership: Building Upon Experience to Make an Impact." Award recipients include Student Senate's Happiness Week for Outstanding Event or Activity; Luther College Dance Marathon for Outstanding Service Project; Maia Pugh was named Outstanding Student Leader and the Luther College Pep Band was awarded Outstanding Organization Award.

The Outstanding Event/Activity Award was presented to Student Senate for Happiness Week; a week that empowers student organizations across campus to plan events that are centered on spreading happiness. Not only does it empower organizations to work together, it increases the happiness quotient across campus.

Luther College Dance Marathon earned the Outstanding Service Project award for a specific service project that made significant contributions to improve the lives and well being of a local, national or global community. Luther College Dance Marathon is an organization that is dedicated to providing financial and emotional support to children being treated at the University of Iowa Children's Hospital. The funds raised help families who might not be able to afford treatments without help.  Last year Luther raised $38,600 and this year raised $57,103. The success of this service project is due to the combined effort of more than 500 student dancers.

The Outstanding Leader Award, presented to a student who has demonstrated exceptional leadership on behalf of his or her group or organization at Luther, was given to Maia Pugh. Captain of Freya, Luther's Women's Ultimate Frisbee team, Pugh, in charge of Hola-Enlaces, and also employed by the Admissions Office. Her supervisors and classmates say Pugh is a role model through her activities and in daily campus life, leading by her actions and kindness. She is passionate about HOLA-Enlaces and inspires others to get involved with the organization.

Twenty Luther students graduated from the L3 program this year. Those honored with certificates of achievement include Claudia Calderon Machicado, Joshua Davis, Claire Dembsky, Michael Ehrecke, Sarah Floden, Cydney Haaland, Holly Harris, Marlon Henriquez, Travis Houle, Jacqueline Kayeba, Libby Logsden, Zanele (Elsie) Muronzie, Ben Nordquist, Alexis Reynolds, Jennie Solverson, Steve Sorenson, Margaret Steinberg, Claudia Velastegui, Ben Warner and Sam Weinberg.

Launching Luther Leaders was founded in 2010 by Jon Lund, executive director of the Center for Global Learning and International Admissions and Ann Highum, former vice president and dean for Student Life.  L3 continues under the leadership of Jane Hildebrand, assistant dean of Student Life, and Kasey Nikkel, Coordinator of Student Organizations. The intent of the program is to provide a wide variety of opportunities for students to learn about leadership theories and practices, apply and develop their leadership skills and reflect on the significance of leadership and service experiences across campus. The L3 program supports students as they use their talents to unite career with vocational calling.

Plaques are hung in the Dahl Centennial Union by the Diversity Center to honor the award recipients.