Congrats to the 2020 MLA recipients

2020 Multicultural Leadership Awards

A collage of individual award recipients

Emerging Leader: Kelly LuuEmerging Leader: Kelly Luu

This award recognizes a first or second year student who has shown their ability to be a leader on campus and in the surrounding community. This student shows strong interest in furthering their involvement in a student organization, program, or cause and to create a unique mark on the UW community. 

This year’s award recipient has shown exceptional ambition and passion for leadership as the Logistics Chair for the Vietnamese Student Association and as Secretary and sisterhood chair for Alpha Kappa Delta Phi. In AKDPhi, she has exceeded expectations as a newer active member to enhance sisterhood bonding. She has had a positive impact implementing innovative ideas for the chapter. Not only has she impacted the sorority, but she has also exemplified the interpersonal skills planning, communication, creativity, and time-management. All of these skills also transfer to her work as the Logistics chair of the Vietnamese Student Association. Her role includes holding large, collaborative events on campus that fosters community bonding and cultural representation. As a member of the VSA executive board, she plays a critical role in also maintaining the organization’s functions.

The accomplishment that exemplifies her leadership is that of solo organizer for the 2020 Vietnamese Lunar New Year celebration also known as Tet. Her outstanding outreach skills brought the Zhong Yi Kung Fu Association for Lion dancing, different student organizations such as KASPer dance crew, the Southeast Asian Dance Organization, and much more in order to bring the celebration to life. Through her planning and execution of this event, it not only gave a big platform for a variety of organizations to showcase their culture but the event alone was a warming reflection of the Vietnamese culture.

Campus Legacy: Alberto Garcia

Campus Legacy: Alberto Garcia

This award recognizes a graduating senior for an exemplary track record of leadership, service, and commitment to the University community over their entire collegiate career. This award acts as the capstone leadership award for a senior who has worked throughout their collegiate experience to better the UW community (and beyond) and their own leadership skills.

This year’s award recipient has an expansive list of leadership roles under his belt and has had a huge impact on the campus community and beyond, through his service and commitment to the betterment of Marginalized communities and the general community on and off campus. This candidate is a Los Angeles Posse scholar, has served on the Multicultural Council Grant board, is a member of Sigma Lambda Beta (fraternity) in which he has held a number of leadership positions including cultural awareness chair and social chair, and then Vice President, and then also president of the Multicultural Greek Council. Along with these experiences, he has also served as president of the Physical Education Club and a member of the Wisconsin Surma dance team. While also earning a certificate in Adapted Fitness, he has more than 50 hours of volunteer service University’s Adapted Fitness program and volunteering countless hours to other causes and organizations as well. 

A moment that exemplifies this recipient’s leadership is his involvement with the sexual assault awareness campaign with PAVE and his fraternity which he helped plan and execute, from big picture planning to on the ground, cutting of denim to make bracelets for awareness, and raising funds. He did his research and was a strong advocate not only for survivors but also in changing the culture which allows for sexual assault to be so present. He works hard not only for his own communities but to ensure all communities are able to move forward.

Outstanding Faculty: Jerry Jordan

Outstanding Faculty: Jerry Jordan

This award is given to a faculty or staff member at UW-Madison, recognizing individuals who have contributed to the success and advancement of students of color and/or student of color organizations. The Nominees show dedication to students of color and/or student of color organizations that is displayed through their active participation in the campus community of color, research, and campus advocacy.

This year’s recipient is described as a “ highly respected, well known, and down to earth advisor in the School of Education for Education Academic Services (EAS)”. He constantly shows in his everyday work that he cares about every single one of his undergraduate students. He gives them honest advice and checks in with his students all the time, especially students of color or those who may need more support. He also happens to be a phenomenal artist.

This year, this recipient has worked with undergraduate and graduate students to create an organization and space within the School of Education, called Diverse Leaders in Education. 

Outstanding Student Organization Leader: Zoua Vang

Outstanding Student Organization Leader: Zoua Vang

This award is given to the president/leader of a registered student organization that is also affiliated with the MSC as an organization serving students of color and multicultural students. The award recognizes the student leader’s commitment to campus involvement, upholding their organization’s mission, and their own leadership development. 

This year’s recipient has worked tirelessly to improve member retention as a member of the Internal Committee, support general members, and improve herself as a leader. She held one-on-one meetings with all of us to see what she could do better for the org and as a leader for us. This year, the organization went through many changes including newly vacant leadership positions but she went above and beyond to fill the gaps while also supporting all the new leaders that joined. 

A moment that defined her leadership was a time in which a decision was made to remove a board member that used a racial slur (did not live up to the standards of community conduct?). She lead the conversations needed in order to have the resources and support for all involved including the MSC and UHS Mental Health services. Because of this, our Council was able to regroup for the spring semester and remain together as one, and have tough conversations rather than glossing over the harm that was done, and making sure to make it a learning opportunity for the organization and individuals. 

Outstanding Established Program: Fiesta En La Terraza

Hosted by the brothers of the Gamma Theta Chapter of Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc.

This award is designed to recognize events or programs that have made a significant impact on the UW community in the last year.  Programs can be an annual occurrence or new for a registered student organization of color, and can be educational or social in nature while serving the needs of multiple sections of the UW-Madison community of color. 

This year’s award recipient kicked off Latinx Heritage Month by creating a safe space for students of color in a predominantly white space, the Memorial Union Terrace. Hundreds of students of color were able to dance and enjoy music as they spent time with friends. By bringing the campus community of color together, creating a safe environment for them as well, this program provided a space for people to learn how to dance traditional Latinx dances like Bachata, Salsa, and Merengue, among others. During that night, the entire Union Terrace was packed with UW students of color, past and present, to celebrate Latinx culture and its impact through music and dance.

This program was also important for Freshman students of color, specially Latinx students, due to the fact that it took place relatively early in the year and allowed them to see their culture in full display and for them to express themselves at a difficult time of transition in their early collegiate careers. In addition to that, the extent of the event’s impact not only reached students of color, but it extended to the greater Madison community. People of all ages were able to come together and enjoy this wonderful evening full of fun and community.

Innovative Program:  Multicultural Fall Ball

Hosted by the African Students Association

This award is designed to recognize events and/or programs that have made a significant impact on the UW community. The event or program should be new or the first of their kind for a registered student organization of color, occurring for the first time this year. This event or program can be educational or social in nature and should serve the needs of multiple sections of the UW-Madison community of color.

This year’s award recipient was hosted by the African Students Association which created a way for many students to come and celebrate all cultures worldwide. ASA collaborated with over a dozen different student organizations to showcase diversity through performance, fashion, food, and music. Not only was it educational and innovative but spearheaded collaboration among many multicultural orgs allowing for a big celebration to acknowledge multiple cultures and create a space for students to feel proud of who they are, where they come from, and learn more about other cultures.

Organizational award recipients

Established Leader: Chuefeng Yang

Established Leader: Chuefeng Yang

This award recognizes an established student leader who has shown exemplary leadership, service, and commitment to the University community. This student shows consistent leadership that is displayed through their active participation and commitment to an organization. Additionally, they provide leadership and vision for the organization; demonstrate ability to establish and maintain positive relationships with others, and serve as a role model for new members and/or other students of color on campus.

This year’s award recipient has been noted to have the ability to get people together and moving toward a common goal and commitment to stand-up against opposing forces larger than themself as a sign of their leadership ability. They serve as an example of what it means to stand up for yourself and fight against injustices being brought upon yourself. From being removed from their role as the House Fellow due to challenging ideas of privilege, to helping serve as a peer facilitator for the SJLR, they continually build others up and build a safe space on campus. 

A moment that defines their leadership is their role as the multicultural learning Community RA. Serving as a role model and confidante for students of color on campus, particularly freshmen who are struggling with being away from home or having their privilege challenged for the first time is not easy. They also hosted programming for students,, and helped students find classes, jobs, cope with stress/culture shock, etc. They have gone above and beyond to build a community for communities of color on campus, including members that identify as part of the LGBTQ community.

Crossroads Initiative Leader: Dequadray White

Crossroads Initiative Leader: Dequadray White

The Crossroads award recognizes an individual student who has demonstrated community leadership within LGBTQ communities of color on campus. This individual provides leadership and vision for queer students of color; demonstrates ability to establish and maintain positive relationships with others, and serve as a role model for new members and/or other LGBTQ students of color on campus while demonstrating outstanding leadership characteristics and skills.

Presented by Tiffany Lee:

This year’s recipient is an interdisciplinary artist from Forest Park, GA. he spends his time creating worlds where the radical is the normal. From his core, he believes it is our responsibility to demand liberation and joy for ourselves, families, and community – that it is our purpose to use our power to conjure a better place. 

This year’s recipient is Dequadray White!

 I’m particularly honored to present this award to Dequardray, because it has been my absolute privilege to have him as my Crosroads intern for several semesters , co-creating programming for queer students of color. He is brilliant and talented and so thoughtful.

One of his many mediums as an artist is painting. He has a couple pieces where you can see inside the faces of these folk. And often what’s there are these vast galaxy scapes. 

That’s often how I think of him. As holding these whole galactic realms behind these pensive eyes. He has incredible vision. 

He sees a canvas and envisions it with more color.

He sees a beat and envisions it with more lyrics 

He sees a moment and envisions it with more learning

He sees a room and envisions it more connected

He sees a world and envisions it more just.

 I am grateful to know him. And am so proud of all the ways he has and will continue to infuse this world with his visions.”

Behind the Scenes Award: Brittany Williams

This award is given to a student leader who does not hold the position of “president/leader” of a particular organization or event, but contributes and rises to the occasion nonetheless. This person may rarely receive recognition yet their work is critical to the advancement of the organization, and surpasses expectations. The award recognizes this student as a responsible and reliable member of the multicultural community at UW Madison.

This year’s recipient joined a student organization, Queen in You, after attending the MSC’s student organization fair, and quickly immersed in it. By joining this organization, she was able to get involved with volunteering with high school students, planning events and promoting them to her circles, and reflecting on the impact the organization has had on her time at UW Madison. 

At one point, the organization was tight on time to promote an event, and she had the chance to step up and help by reaching out to the president of the organization to see what she could do. At the time, she created the promotion for the event and helped publicize it to her ability, which is when she recognized her own leadership potential and looks forward to getting more involved next year. 

Outstanding Student Org: Kappa Gamma Chapter of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority Incorporated

Outstanding Student Org: Kappa Gamma Chapter of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority Incorporated

This award is designed to recognize student organizations that have contributed significantly to the campus around the issues students of color face. These organizations can be educational, political or social in nature and should serve the needs of multiple sections of the UW-Madison community of color. The organization is collaborative, and contributes positively to the personal development of its members; support other campus events as well as other student of color organizations; hosts events that meet the needs of students of color; and develop campus events that build and educate the campus community.

This year’s award recipient continuously provides a space on the UW-Madison campus that allows students of color to feel open and able to express themselves and learn in a space free of judgement in a multicultural sorority. The organization works to  ensure that students of color on this campus can feel welcomed and appreciated regardless of membership. Within membership, they provide fully funded opportunities for summer convention trips to learn about leadership, our organization, and how to succeed on a college campus through the organization and individually. The org put on events for the campus surrounding a number of topics but not limited to: womyn empowerment, coping with mental illnesses, racism, inclusivity, and intersectionality. They also engage with other organizations who promote events that raise awareness to issues that students of color face on campus through various collaborations, and aim to make the events informative and fun, and intentionally provide a diverse array of events including discussion groups, dance workshops, awareness events, and more. 

The organization has focused on creating a more welcoming and inclusive space through making changes to the language they use and advocate for that inclusion which has impacted other student organizations and leaders to become aware of, and implement as well. 

Excellence in Social Justice: Lao and Cambodian Student Association

Excellence in Social Justice: Lao and Cambodian Student Association

This award recognizes a student-led organization that has demonstrated excellence in social justice programming, efforts, and leadership during this academic year.

This year’s award recipient aims to create programming that displays and educates others about their culture and current events. For example, they have focused on community organizing through programming like the annual event, Southeast Asian Opportunities (SEANO) where they educate Southeast Asian high schoolers and their families about different areas of study, college application, and scholarships.They invited other student organizations and university departments to present at the event as well. 

This organization hosted the Lao and Cambodian New Year on campus for the first time ever and planned an event highlighting the effects of deportation on Southeast Asian American communities. They wanted to lift up their communities with the celebration of traditions and recognize the role of activism. Their programming offers a unique insight into traditional and diasporic Lao and Cambodian culture.

Excellence in Collaboration: Ae Dekhen Zara

Excellence in Collaboration: Ae Dekhen Zara

This award is designed to recognize the partnership between multiple student organizations who have built and maintained collaborations between all involved. To build events, programs, and community beyond just their own audience and, foster cross community collaboration, multicultural education, and growth of other students of color. The collaboration should be intentional between all and should speak to the mission of the MSC. 

This year’s award recipient is a program that brings people together for an engaging and exciting  show. The organization has an incredibly dedicated board which strives to bring south Asian dance to a new light. The competition is smoothly run with a lot of involvement from students on campus. In addition to this, the organization also raised funds for Yuwa, which is an organization that works with young girls to prevent child marriage and trafficking, and empowering these girls  in society.