WMU News

WMU students win STAR Award for volunteer efforts

May 26, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University is home to the area's top college volunteers, according to the Volunteer Center of Greater Kalamazoo and the Kalamazoo Gazette.

A graduate student and a group of honors students received 2000 STAR Awards on April 19 from the Volunteer Center of Greater Kalamazoo and the Kalamazoo Gazette, sweeping the college volunteer categories. Katie Eaton of Grand Rapids, Mich., who is pursuing a master's degree in speech pathology and audiology, was honored in the College Volunteer category for her work with Big Brothers Big Sisters. The Honors Student Association from WMU's Lee Honors College also received the award for a College Volunteer Group.

Eaton was nominated for the award by Samantha A. Rowland, a caseworker with Big Brothers Big Sisters' Kalamazoo office. Eaton began her Big Sister relationship with a young woman named Cassandra, age 10, three years ago. And in 1999, Eaton expanded her mentoring circle with the addition of Candice, age 13, Cassandra's cousin, whose previous Big Sister had moved away.

"Katie Eaton exemplifies dependability, creativity, endurance, nurturing and honesty," said Rowland in her nomination. "The objective in being a Big Sister is to help the Little Sister grow in a positive light, having fun all the while. Katie is making a big impact on our community and our future, two children at a time."

The University's Honors Student Association was nominated by Katrina Chester, volunteer coordinator at WMU. The HSA membership is made up of students from the Lee Honors College. In 1999, Chester estimated, group members logged more than 9,800 hours on volunteer activities such as mentoring, reading to children and promoting volunteerism among their peers.

"The members of the Honors Student Association are always thinking of new and innovative ways to provide service to the community," Chester said. "The executive board does an incredible job of motivating its membership to commit to service projects."

The STAR Awards honor Kalamazoo-area volunteers who have shown an exceptional commitment of time, creativity, dependability and impact on their nominating organizations. STAR is an acronym for Sharing Time And Resources. Close to 100 organizations nominate volunteers for awards in 12 categories each year.

Media contact: Jessica English, 616 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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