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Student leaders were presented with the University of Rhode Island Rainville Awards

By Lee Sullivan
On April 6, 2011

  • Matthew O‚ÄôRourke informs the attendees of last nights Rainville Awards about senior Alanna Silberman by reading a short biography. Both students were finalists for the Student Employee Excellence Award. Teresa Kelly

Last night more than 200 students and staff attended the University of Rhode Island's annual Rainville Award Ceremony the Memorial Union Ballroom. Awards were given students who excel in leadership roles and also hold a good academic record.

The awards are named after A. Robert Rainville who served as vice president of student affairs from 1980 to 1986. According to the URI website, Rainville was both a mentor for students and also a friend.

Each year various students are selected to receive the Robert Rainville Student Leadership Award, the Student Servant Leadership Award, the Student Employee Leadership Award and the Student Team Leadership Award. Students are nominated by other students, staff and other faculty for each award. Students must meet certain criteria to be nominated and become a finalist in each award.

This year's Servant Leader Finalists were Kevin Colman, Courtney O'Keefe and Morgan Reilly. O'Keefe, a human development and family studies major, received the award and thanked many people for helping her get to where she is today. She has helped students make the decision to serve in Alternative Spring Break and has an internship with Habitat for Humanity and the Feinstein Center for Service Learning.

The Student Employee Finalists were Valerie Damon-Leduc, Matthew DeLaire, Meagan Plante, Matthew O'Rourke, Alanna Silberman and Molly Welsh. All of these finalists contributed to URI in different ways and were all successful students. The recipient of the award went to Valerie Damon-Leduc who is an English major with a minor in leadership studies and communication studies. She also worked as an events management consultant for the last two years and holds many leadership positions in her sorority. Damon-Leduc was offered to be the senior speaker at commencement in May.

"From what I've heard about all of these finalists, they all seem more than deserving to receive this award," Andy Blajda, friend of one of the finalists, said. "It's incredible how much work all of these students put in for URI."

The recipient of the Team Leadership Award was URI Violence Prevention Peer Advocates, who specialize in leading interactive workshops to help students become aware of sexual abuse, partner violence and stalking. The Peer Advocates work in the Women's Center and help organize programs for students such as the Vagina Monologues.

Lauren Creamer, an environmental science and management/biology major, received the Student Leadership Award. She has been a resident assistant for four years at URI and is the president of the Club Sports and Intramural Council. Creamer has also been a URI 101 mentor.

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