SOAR Awards

2019 SOAR Awards winners with Taylor Cain, Interim Provost Morris, Dean McDonald, and Vice President Wilson.

2019 SOAR Awards winners with Taylor Cain, Interim Provost Morris, Dean McDonald, and Vice President Wilson.

The Center for Student Activities & Involvement hosted the 18th annual Student Organization Achievement and Recognition (SOAR) Awards on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at 6:00pm in Tate Grand Hall. The SOAR awards recognize student organizations and advisors for their commitment to excellence and significant contributions to the campus and community. 

SOAR 2019 Award Winners

  • Most Innovative Program: UGA Votes, a partnership between Roosevelt, Student Government Association, Georgia Political Review, College Republicans, and Young Democrats for its efforts to increase voter registration among students
  • Organizational Improvement: Pre-Counseling Club for working to increase intentional membership among students hoping to enter “helping professions” and become counselors
  • Organizational Collaboration: Journal of Language & Literacy Education and the Language & Literacy Education Graduate Organization for working together to increase participation and resources for their Fall Speaker Series and Winter Pre-Conference Workshop
  • Outstanding Campus Event (Small): ServeUGA’s “Dawg Day of Service” for inspiring 428 students to volunteer at 18 sites across the community, resulting in 1,040 hours of service
  • Outstanding Campus Event (Large): Shop with a Bulldog for supporting local children and families with a shopping and entertainment program during the holiday season
  • Outstanding New Organization: Girls in Healthcare for providing a positive, supportive network for female students pursuing careers in healthcare
  • Commitment to Social Justice: IMPACT Service Breaks for working to incorporate social justice into its service-learning spring and winter break strips that span 22 cities with 16 social justice topics
  • Outstanding Cross-Cultural Program: OUTLaw/Stonewall Law Student Association’s “Out: An Oral History of UGA Law’s Queer Faculty and Staff, an opportunity for faculty and staff to discuss their experiences navigating their LGBTQ identities at the law school and in practice
  • Outstanding Service to the Community (Small): Designated Dawgs for providing free, safe transportation for students on weekends
  • Outstanding Service to the Community (Large): Serving Others Unconditional Love (SOUL) for working with community service organizations to connect with underserved populations and build genuine relationships through meaningful conversations
  • Pillar of the Community: Kristina Petti of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies
  • Advisor of the Year: Lindsey Welch, advisor to the American Pharmacists Association – Academy of Student Pharmacists
  • Candice Sherman Emerging Leader: Autumn Pressley, Student Alumni Association
  • Bulldog Vision: Carly Esposito, co-president of Food2Kids
  • Organization of the YearFood2Kids, who partners with the Northeast Georgia Food Bank to provide weekend meal packages to children who are facing food insecurity. The packages are used to help eliminate the “hunger gap,” the time between the last meal at school on Fridays and the first meal on Mondays.

SOAR Application:

  • NEW for 2019, applicants/nominators may select and apply for multiple awards through one form.
  • Letters of Support and Additional Supporting Documents are optional components to your application and are at the discretion of the organization when submitting. These items, when worked on thoroughly and submitted intentionally, strengthen applications but are not required to be considered.

Questions can be directed to the Center for Student Activities and Involvement at 706-542-6396 or soarawards@uga.edu.

SOAR Award Descriptions

Outstanding Senior Leader (OSL)

Pandora Yearbook presents the OSL Award to honor those that have gone above and beyond in their commitment to leadership, academics, campus involvement, and community service. Complete your application here

At the minimum, application materials should include:

  • Resume
  • Responses to three brief questions on the application

Most Innovative Program

Awarded to the student organization that positively impacted the UGA community through sponsoring an original project or program. Applicants should be able to describe their program/event’s creativity and innovation.

At the minimum, application materials should include:

  • Description of the need you identified and how your program/project addressed that need
  • Description of the communities and/or students who were involved in the program/project and how those communities and/or students were impacted
  • Description of the program logistics and planning process

Outstanding Cross-Cultural Program

Awarded to the student organization that realizes no community can reach its fullest potential without celebrating and encouraging respect for diversity and works to create a more-inclusive climate. This program will have improved the UGA campus climate by working to present a program or series of programs of lasting impact that increases the understanding of different cultures and provides opportunities for cross-cultural exchanges. Applicants should be able to demonstrate how their program benefitted the University community during and after the time of the event, as well as articulate what attendees learned as a result of participation.

At the minimum, application materials should include:

  • Narrative of the program – purpose, intent, and how it showcased diverse views, backgrounds, and/or experiences
  • How the program contributed to participants’ and community awareness and/or knowledge of diversity or created space for cross-cultural exchange?
  • Description of the impact of the program or initiative on the campus community: How has the campus changed because of this work? How has the campus benefited from this work?
  • Description of the impact of the initiative or program on the members performing it: What did you learn?  How has this program or initiative changed your organization moving forward?

Commitment to Social Justice

Given to a student organization or student organization-led initiative whose programs or efforts educate people on social justice issues on campus and/or abroad and have shown evidence of a significant impact on addressing power, privilege, and discrimination to foster inclusiveness and a socially-just society.

At the minimum, application materials should include:

  • Narrative of how the initiative came to fruition, the initiative’s intent, and purpose
  • Social justice issue(s) addressed and how the initiative specifically addressed power, oppression, privilege, etc.
  • Description of the impact of the program or initiative on the campus community: How has the campus changed because of this work? How has the campus benefited from this work?
  • Description of the impact of the initiative or program on the members performing it: What did you learn? How has this initiative changed your organization moving forward?

Outstanding Service to the Community

Awarded to one large (50+ members) and one small (less than 50 members) student organizations that exemplify outstanding organizational service to the UGA and/or Athens community. These organizations will have given their time and/or talents to positively advance a campus or community issue. If applicable, applicants are encouraged to look beyond their philanthropic efforts to the actual service that was completed.

At the minimum, application materials should include:

  • Service platform (if applicable)
  • Description of the impact of the service on the community: How has the community changed or benefited from this work? Is this long-lasting, sustainable change for the community?
  • Description of the impact of the service on the members performing it: What did you learn? How has this service changed your organization moving forward?
  • Program logistics (e.g., location, planning process, hours, attendance, etc.)

Outstanding Campus Event

Awarded to one large (50+ members) and one small (less 50 members) student organization hosting/sponsoring a program or event. Applicants should demonstrate exemplary skills in ideation, planning, promotion, and execution of the event. Event must have occurred from February 2018 to January 2019.

At the minimum, application materials should include:

  • Program logistics (e.g, date, location, purpose, attendance, etc.)
  • Overview of the planning process
  • What distinguishes this program from others of its size?
  • How has this program contributed to the development of organization members and/or attendees?

Organizational Improvement

Awarded to the student organization that has taken significant steps in order to improve its overall level of effectiveness from one year to the next. Applicable improvement should have occurred from February 2018 to present.

At the minimum, application materials should include:

  • Description of the identification of a need for change within the organization 
  • Explanation of the steps taken in order to accomplish organizational change
  • Demonstration of holistic organizational improvement

Organizational Collaboration

Awards to two or more registered student organizations that have embraced the spirit of collaboration through co-sponsorship and partnership of an activity or event. Collaboration is about more than shared resources; it is also about shared vision, planning, and purpose of an event meant to reach a greater segment of the University community.

At the minimum, application materials should include:

  • Program logistics (e.g., organizations involved, program, date, location, purpose, etc.)
  • How the program embraced the spirit of collaboration?
  • How the program was enhanced by the collaboration?
  • How the partnership occurred?

Outstanding New Organization

Awarded to the student organization that displayed promise and potential through its purpose, structure, and programs during its first year of existence. Only organizations registered as a new student organization since February 2018 will be considered.

At the minimum, application materials should include:

  • Description of the development of a vision for the organization
  • Description of the organization’s first year accomplishments
  • Organization’s plans for future success

Organization of the Year

Awarded to the student organization, which through its activities, programs, and projects, has had a significant positive influence on the University of Georgia campus and local communities. This award is based on the quality of events hosted, quality of service performed, and participation in other campus events. This organization will have demonstrated their initiative to further advance the collegiate experience of UGA students beyond the classroom.

At the minimum, application materials should include:

  • Description of your organization’s mission and/or purpose and how the organization is enacting that mission/purpose through its initiatives
  • Description of how your organization contributes to the development of its membership
  • Description of the impact your organization has had on the UGA and/or local communities

***If selected as a finalist for the award, applicants will participate in a five-minute presentation to a panel of judges. Finalists will be notified no later than March 1, 2019 with details about the next steps, presentation suggestions, and possible interview times.***

Awards Requiring Nomination

Advisor of the Year

Awarded to the student organization advisor who has gone above and beyond the basic expectations of an advisor. The nominee must be an active advisor of a registered student organization.

At minimum, materials should include a description of:

  • The specific qualities this individual demonstrates that show a commitment to advising a student organization.
  • Specific examples that show how this individual has positively impacted the organization and displayed their potential to create lasting impacts on UGA and/or the community.

Bulldog Vision

Awarded to a seasoned student leader, having earned more than 60 credit hours, who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and vision. Nominees for this award will have helped their organization and/or community envision the future, identify paths to success, and implement their vision for the betterment of their organization and/or community.

At the minimum, nomination materials should include:

  • The vision, its development, and implementation
  • Description of how the vision relates to the organization’s purpose and/or mission
  • Description of how the nominee has been legacy-minded in regards to the vision
  • Description of the leadership skills possessed by the nominee or group

Pillar of the Community

Awarded to an individual or entity affiliated with the UGA community, but not necessarily with any one organization, who assists others above and beyond the call of duty. This award highlights the behind-the-scenes contributions that further the mission of the institution. Those eligible include faculty, staff, community members, and students.

At the minimum, application materials should include:

  • The contributions and impact this individual and/or entity has had on the UGA community
  • Specific examples that show how this person/entity demonstrates the Pillars of the Arch (Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation) in their work

Candice Sherman Emerging Leader

Awarded to a student leader, having earned less than 60 credit hours, who has demonstrated leadership qualities within their organization on campus or in the community. Nominees should display the potential and desire to give back to the university and community through their leadership. Potential is not measured merely by position held, but rather the significant contributions the individual has made on campus or in the community. Award recipients will demonstrate that they have participated in experiences that have helped develop their leadership skills.

At the minimum, application materials should include:

  • Description of the identification of a need for change within the organization 
  • Explanation of the steps taken in order to accomplish organizational change
  • Demonstration of holistic organizational improvement