Student Life Awards

The George Washington University emphasizes a dynamic, student-focused community stimulated by cultural and intellectual diversity and built upon a foundation of integrity, creativity, and openness to the exploration of new ideas. Our mission also compels the GW community to apply its talent and knowledge to improve the quality of life in metropolitan Washington, D.C. 

The annual Excellence in Student Life Awards is GW’s largest celebration of student life and a beloved campus tradition, honoring the individuals and groups that work tirelessly to enhance student life on campus and work alongside our surrounding community. 

 


"Being recognized is something that we should do for each other every day. It doesn't have to be big, it doesn't have to be only if you're a senior, I think that every single small act of kindness should be recognized. Just being here and celebrating everyone's success at GW has really made my heart warm, and has made my last days at GW really fulfilling."

Ashley Le

Winner, Baer Award for Individual Excellence
Class of 2019


Day of Excellence

As a complement to the Excellence in Student Life Awards, we host Day of Excellence, a community-wide celebration of appreciation and acclamation. This program provides all members of the community the opportunity to engage directly with a personalized act of recognition that is meaningful to them, from making "paper plate awards" for a student organization leader, to sending a thank you note to an impactful professor or staff member. The Day of Excellence and Excellence in Student Life Awards reception is hosted annually in late April.

This year's Day of Excellence was held virtually on April 22, 2020. Check out Student Life at GW on social media to see how we celebrated!

The Awards

Ranging in nature, each of the more than 20 awards in the Excellence in Student Life Awards program honors an individual or group that exemplifies GW’s values and institutional mission. The nomination period for 2019-2020 has concluded, and we are no longer accepting nominations at this time.

Congratulations to our 2020 Excellence in Student Life Award winners! Watch the virtual announcement, and join the Office of Student Life in celebrating our award recipients! 

Individual Awards

Awarded to graduate or undergraduate student(s) with a minimum 3.0 GPA who have enhanced student life and demonstrated themselves as a positive member of the GW community.

The Baer Award for Individual Excellence in the GW community is a prestigious award developed in honor and memory of David A. Baer, a member of the class of 1910, for his involvement in and support for the University’s extra-curricular program. This award will honor those students who have demonstrated integrity and commitment in their overall conduct as members of the campus community. Recipients of the Baer Award have taken it upon themselves to make our community stronger and pledged to enhance student life through a variety of involvements. Additionally, these individuals exhibit competent scholarship (a minimum of a 3.0 GPA) in pursuit of their academic objectives. Candidates may be self-nominated or nominated by a peer, faculty or staff member. 

Awarded to a rising senior with demonstrated commitment to serving the public. Preference is given to first responders or military members.

The Class of 2005 9/11 Memorial Scholarship for Public Service will be awarded to one rising senior each spring to be applied to the cost of tuition in $2,500 in their senior year. Those seeking this scholarship should have a demonstrated commitment to serving the public good and helping others in their time of need. It is the desire of the Class of 2005 (but not a prerequisite) to give preference to candidates that have volunteered or worked as first responders, or have participated in some form of military service. All candidates must have two full, remaining semesters as a full time students. Candidates may be self-nominated or nominated by a peer, faculty or staff member. 

Awarded to a graduate or undergraduate student who has contributed to a culture of philanthropy and voluntarism among GW students. Non-senior nominees preferred.

The Class of 2009 University Pride Award for Philanthropy and Volunteerism recognizes a civically and philanthropically engaged student. This individual demonstrates a genuine passion and affinity for GW and frequently engages in service and philanthropy at GW and beyond. A great nomination for this award shows that the nominee gives back to the GW community with their time and talent and contributes to the development of a culture of philanthropy and voluntarism among GW students. The winner will receive a textbook stipend for the GW bookstore. This award is funded by the Class of 2009 Senior Class Gift. Non-senior nominees preferred, so the winner can take full advantage of the textbook stipend. Candidates may be self-nominated or nominated by a peer, faculty, or staff member.

Awarded to undergraduate student(s) who exemplify the values of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through leadership, scholarship, and service.

GW honors the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by acknowledging outstanding members of the GW student community who exemplify the values embodied in Dr. King’s legacy - scholarship, service, servant leadership, peace, non-violence, diversity, inclusion, integrity, spiritual growth, ethical reflection. The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award is one of the most prestigious honors offered by the university. Undergraduate students honoring Dr. King’s legacy through exceptional leadership, scholarship, service, research, actions, and deeds in service to the university and/or the greater Washington D.C. communities are eligible. This award is self-nomination only.

Awarded to a graduate student who has strengthened the graduate student community through scholarship, work, involvement, or advocacy on campus or in the Washington, D.C. community.

The Graduate Award for Individual Excellence recognizes those students who embody the mission of the University and have contributed to the enhancement of the GW graduate student experience. This award recognizes graduate students who made outstanding contributions to the University community and beyond. Additionally, recipients of the Graduate Award for Individual Excellence have shown efforts to make the graduate student community stronger and more engaged in the GW and D.C. community, demonstrating an ability to lead and motivate their peers. Recipients exhibit competent scholarship with a minimum GPA of 3.0. This award is only open to graduate students. Candidates may be self-nominated or nominated by a peer, faculty, or staff member.

Awarded to a faculty member who has significantly impacted and inspired a student or student organization.

The Honey Nashman Spark A Life Award for Faculty Member of the Year will be granted to one faculty member who has significantly impacted the holistic development of a student or registered student organization, thus causing a “spark” of inspiration. Individuals eligible for this award are faculty members who have formed a positive mentoring relationship which has measurably impacted the development of the student or registered student organization and the contributions they make to the GW and/or Washington, D.C. communities. A great nomination includes a faculty member who has played a vital role in the success of a student or  a student organization. For example, they may have helped and supported a student or a student organization through crisis, or helped facilitate change within an organization that strengthened the organization, or they helped an organization reach a benchmark of success or achieve a sought-after goal. Candidates may be nominated by a student, faculty or staff member. 

Awarded to undergraduate students who have demonstrated exceptional scholarship, leadership, and contributions to the GW community through involvement.

The Joint Committee of Faculty and Students, in conjunction with the Senior Vice Provost and Senior Vice President for Student and Academic Support Services, is pleased to announce the 2019-2020 Undergraduate Scholarships for Student Leadership Development. The scholarships, of $3,000 each, are to be applied to University related costs, such as tuition, books, University housing, and food service. They are designed to recognize undergraduate students who have the potential to demonstrate exceptional leadership based on their contributions to date, particularly to student organizations and campus activities. This award is self-nomination only. 

Awarded to a graduating senior who significantly challenged the social and intellectual conscience of the University while demonstrating leadership, integrity, and goodwill.

The Manatt-Trachtenberg Prize was established in 2004 by Ambassador Charles Manatt, Emeritus Trustee of the University and Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, President of GW from 1988 to 2007, to honor the graduating senior who most significantly challenged the social and intellectual conscience of The George Washington University while displaying leadership, competence, integrity, and goodwill in carrying out University responsibilities.  The prize will include a modest cash award. Candidates may be self-nominated or nominated by a peer, faculty or staff member. 

Awarded to a graduating senior who has contributed to the success of GW’s Intramural Sports Program through positive participation and good sportsmanship

The Marc A. Zambetti Award was created in honor of its namesake.  Marc was a member of the class of 1985 and an active participant in the Intramural Sports program while a student here at GW.  Marc was tragically killed when the freeway upon which he was traveling collapsed during the earthquake that rocked the San Francisco Bay area on October 17, 1989. The purpose of this award is to recognize a graduating senior participant (player/employee) in the Office of Campus Recreation's Intramural Sports Program. This senior is one that contributed to the success in the Intramural Sports Program at GW and represented good sportsmanship during his/her/their time in the Office of Campus Recreation's Intramural Sports Program. Candidates may be self-nominated or nominated by a peer, faculty or staff member. 

Awarded to a student resident or former resident of the Mount Vernon Campus who has demonstrated a commitment to the Mount Vernon Campus community while maintaining a high level of academic achivement.

The Mount Vernon Award is presented to a current undergraduate student who demonstrates the spirit and legacy of the Mount Vernon Campus and that of its founder, Elizabeth Somers, through many facets of their involvement at GW. These include (in order of importance): Pride in and appreciation for the Mount Vernon experience; Being a supportive, contributing member of the Mount Vernon Campus community through continued dedication to the Mount Vernon Campus; Involvement in current affairs of the Mount Vernon Campus, overall GW Community and the city, all while maintaining a high level of academic achievement. Students eligible for this award must be current or former Mount Vernon Campus residents.  Nominations by staff, faculty, and peers as well as self-nominations are encouraged and will be accepted. Candidates must be in good academic and disciplinary standing and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 as of the Fall 2019 semester. Candidates may be self-nominated or nominated by a peer, faculty or staff member. 

Awarded to an undergraduate or graduate student who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to supporting the needs of our University community and beyond through service.

Recipients of the Outstanding Service Award will have exhibited exceptional commitment to supporting the needs and interests of our community locally, nationally, and/or globally through direct community service, as well as, share his/her/their passion with the GW campus community. To be eligible the individual should be a current undergraduate or graduate student at GW during the 2019-20 academic year and in good standing with the University (no academic or disciplinary probation). Candidates may be self-nominated or nominated by a peer, faculty or staff member. 

Awarded to a current Resident Advisor who has demonstrated excellence in their role and had a positive impact on the community they serve.

Every year Resident Advisors contribute to the experience of thousands of residential students. The Resident Advisor of the Year Award recognizes the best of that group for their skills and contributions throughout the year. The Resident Advisor of the Year is one who has created a strong community among their residents, supported their residents and fellow Resident Advisor team, and empowered residents to transform their choices into desired actions and outcomes.  Most importantly, the Resident Advisor must have made a positive impact on the community they serve. All current Resident Advisors are eligible. Nominations may be made by staff, faculty, and/or students of the GW community.

Awarded to a staff member who has significantly impacted and inspired a student or student organization.

The Robert A. Chernak Spark a Life Award for Staff Member of the Year will be granted to one staff member who has significantly impacted the holistic development of a student and/or registered student organization, thus causing a “spark” of inspiration. Individuals eligible for this award are staff members who have formed a positive mentoring relationship which has measurably impacted the development of the student and/or registered student organization and the contributions they make to the GW and/or Washington, D.C. communities. Candidates may be nominated by a student, faculty or staff member. 

Awarded to a student organization member who has made a meaningful and lasting impact on their organization and have a demonstrated affinity for the GW community.

Student organizations depend on their members to help define the missions of their groups, build plans to achieve their goals, and provide encouragement and motivation to members while also managing expectations and providing important oversight. From presidents and treasurers, to vice-presidents and general body members, all officers can have an incredible impact on their organization. Nominations should clearly outline how the member being nominated had a direct impact on their student organization that is meaningful and lasting. Nominees should also have a strong affinity to their organization and the George Washington University in general. Finally, nominees should have proven leadership skills and qualities.  Candidates may be self-nominated or nominated by a peer, faculty or staff member. 

Recognizes individuals who have displayed competence, integrity, and goodwill in carrying out their university responsibilities and goes above and beyond to create broad and lasting impact

The George Washington Award highlights individuals who have made exceptional contributions that have advanced the university to: develop students' abilities to the fullest, provide for superior instruction and facilities, provide for a balanced program of student extracurricular activities, or to utilize its historical, geographical and functional relationship to the nation's capital.  Candidates may be self-nominated or nominated by a peer, faculty or staff member. Nominations require two letters of reccomendation (written by somone other than the individual filling out the form) to be uploaded upon submission. 

Group Awards

Awarded by the Club Sports Council to the team that has demonstrated the highest degree of organization and commitment to its members, the department, and the university. 

The Club Sport of the Year Award seeks to award a team that has gone above and beyond. This team has had a committed and consistent group of members who have taken on projects, events, been supportive, collaborative, inclusive, financially responsible, and demonstrated a high level of success in conference competition during the season.  Groups may be self-nominated or nominated by a peer, faculty or staff member. 

Awarded to two student organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to diversity and inclusion through programming and membership.

The Excellence in Diversity Award honors two registered student organizations who have demonstrated a significant commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence throughout the year. This commitment will be measured based on: programmatic partnerships with organizations whose membership reflects diversity; the organization membership and hierarchy of your organization that reflects diversity; programs that teach, support, or practice a commitment to diversity, underrepresented communities, diversity training, and/or social justice; support for national cultural heritage celebrations on campus; procedural changes in the organization that mark newly discovered diversity opportunities or reflect a historical approach to honoring diversity within the organization; a demonstrated want to explore and appreciate the many cultures of GW through their actions, deeds, membership, and service choices in their contribution to GW.

Recognizes student organizations or university programs or initiatives that excel in the use of experiential education as a process to make a positive impact on the GW community and student experience.

The Learning Through Action Award has been created to registered student organizations and/or university programs that excel in the use of experiential education in their co-curricular events and/or organizations.  Experiential education is defined as a process through which a learner constructs knowledge, skill, and value from direct experience and reflection.  Great nominations will illustrate the application of experiential learning to a specific event, program, and/or involvement with a registered student organization.  Further, the nomination will highlight how this experience has made a measurable, positive impact on the GW community and student experience. Awarded to one student organization and one university program.

Awarded to a student organization, academic residential community, service-learning course, or athletic team that has demonstrated a significant commitment to supporting the needs of our University community and beyond through service.

 Recipients of the Outstanding Service Award will have exhibited an exceptional commitment to supporting the needs and interests of our community locally, nationally, and/or globally through direct community service, as well as, share its passion with the GW campus community. To be eligible the group must be a registered student organization, an academic residential community, a service-learning course, and/or an athletic team during the 2019-20 academic year and in good standing with the University. 

Awarded to a student organization that has made a commitment to connecting with GW alumni through planned events and programs.

The Student Organization and Alumni Connection Award honors registered student organizations that have distinguished themselves in their commitment to connecting with GW alumni thought planned events and programs, both on and off-campus. The Student-Alumni Award recipient will receive a programming grant from the Office of Alumni Relations for the following academic semester to support their continued student-alumni programs. 

Awarded to a student organization that has made significant contributions to GW student life through programming, initiatives, or advocacy.

The Pyramid Honors Society Student Organization of the Year Award was named in recognition of the Pyramid Honor Society, which was created in the early 1900s to form a group of students who represented the University by their activities and interests. This award honors registered student organizations and their distinguished level of contribution to the GW community through planned events and programs, both on and off-campus.  Student organizations that receive this award are recognized by their exceptional success in motivating and organizing fellow students to enhance campus life, and by their collaborative efforts with other organizations or departments to achieve objectives to improve student life. Please note that social Greek organizations are not eligible.