Photo of 10 awards on a black table with mini terrace chairs next to each award.

2024 Multicultural Leadership Awards

2024 Multicultural Leadership Award Winners

Group Awards

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Outstanding Student Organization

The 2024 winner is an organization that has made an immense amount of growth and progress over the school year. The Multiracial Student Union is extremely open and welcoming to all individuals who wish to learn about or feel represented by the multiracial identity. These individuals range from those of multiple races to transracial adoptees to those who don’t physically look like their identity or that of their family members. The Multiracial Student Union is a space where folks can come and feel recognized for their full identity experience rather than just a singular part of themselves. Additionally, the Multiracial Student Union has taken great strides in connecting with other student organizations this year to showcase how multiracial identity transcends discussion subjects. These include collaborations with the Filipinx American Student Organization, Sex Out Loud, and with members from the Chazen Museum Art Student Ambassadors to name a few. Overall, despite its smaller number of members, the Multiracial Student Union has made great strides in making itself known on campus by creating lasting connections and a welcoming community.

Innovative Program

The 2024 Innovative Program award goes to the Filipinx American Student Organization’s SOFA Program. As FASO has grown, the SOFA program was created to welcome new FASO members into the org in a smaller, more intimate environment, cultivating relationships and connections between members beyond GBMs and lineages. SOFA cultivates a sense of belonging for new members by employing a team of “titos and titas”, which is a group of volunteer “veteran” FASO members who are excited to invite and integrate members into FASO. The SOFA program hosts events like movie nights, study nights, and other activities, where new and old members can hang out with each other and stay connected as the org continues to grow!

Individual Awards

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Emerging Leader

Olakunle Ojo has served on the Grant Allocation Committee and as the Student Representative for the School of Education for the Associated Students of Madison to increase diversity within UW’s student government. They’ve served on the African Student Association as their Outreach Coordinator. In addition to being a brother of the mighty Gamma Epsilon chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, he has spent his time volunteering with the Food Recovery Network and leading the creation of the Essence Peer Mentorship Program. He is a founder of SOUL, a student organization to enrich the freshman experience and create lasting change for Black students. Kunle has achieved many accomplishments in his first 2 years on campus. 

Established Leader

The 2024 Established Leader Award Recipient, Cuauhtemoc Guizar, is an exemplary model of someone whose leadership, mentorship, and academic abilities inspire and empower others to achieve the same. Throughout his time a UW-Madison, Cuauhtemoc has consistently demonstrated exemplary leadership within organizations on campus. He has been actively involved in the Latine Student Union as Historian and President, Cabinet Student Leader to the Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs, mentor for the Mercile J. Lee Scholarship program, the Multicultural Grant Council member, Volunteer Mentor/Tutor with the Centro Hispano of Dane County’s Escalera Program, and many more. As president of the Latine Student Union, Temo continuously provides leadership and vision, empowering others and creating growth opportunities. Under his guidance, the Latine Student Union has become a vibrant hub for Latine students, providing a supportive space for cultural expression, community-building, and advocacy. While Temo has held several specific leadership positions, he excels in building and maintaining positive relationships with peers, faculty, and community partners, fostering a sense of belonging and unity. 

Outstanding Faculty/Staff

Rachelle Eilers consistently goes above and beyond for the students she serves. While her working title is Academic Advising Manager to the Chican@ and Latin@ Studies program, Rachelle is much more to the community at UW-Madison. She is a great listener and has the warmest, welcoming energy which comforts students at such a large campus. She has always prioritized the needs and voices of her students through her creation of interpersonal relationships. Rachelle is much more than just an advisor to her students, many see her as a mentor or family.

Leading Latinx (LCC)

Lenzy Xelhua Ledezma embodies the guiding and founding principles of the LCC, which are connect, empower, and excel. The recipient of this award has strong connections to their community, is successful at empowering others, and excels at leadership. Lenzy’s nominator stated, “Whether it’s through participating in the Latinx Heritage Month Planning Committee, creating education and academic development events through PALMA, or raising awareness about social justice issues through her sorority, she works to amplify the voices of marginalized groups and effect positive change within the university community.”

Igniting the 7th Fire (ISC)

The prophecy of the Seven Fires of the Anishinaabe says that when the 7th fire is lit, a new people will emerge to retrace the steps of those before them and remember stories and wisdom that were once forgotten. This award is given to a graduating student who has demonstrated a strong commitment to uplifting the Indigenous community through their contributions while at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The recipients of this award have shown a dedication to changing the status quo by learning from the past and leading for the future. They have done this by connecting with the Indigenous community on campus, empowering other students through leadership or mentorship roles, and having left an impact in their community. 

McKaylin Peters’ nominator stated “They are a very passionate and hard-working student. Their time at UW-Madison has been turbulent. But despite the hardships they faced they continue to be a light of hope and joy in her community.”

Michael Williams had 5 outstanding nominations, and the nominators have said the following about them “They have served as a driving force for positive transformation within numerous campus organizations, events, and discussions.” In addition to “They took thier experiences, knowledge and skills to pay it forward for the next generations through their work commitments and contributions to the constant learning of Tribal law for Indigenous people.”

Activating APIDA Award (APIDASC)

Manal Hasan is this year’s recipient of the Activating APIDA Award and is a leader and activist who has demonstrated a dedication to building community and coalitions among the APIDA student body at UW-Madison. To quote the nominator: “She has taken a critical eye to the voices of communities that do not have the space they deserve and amplifies them. She is diligent and humble to uplift existing voices and is conscious to not overshadow them…. [she has] dedicated her time to serving on the executive boards of the Pakistani Student Association, Muslim Student Association, and MannMukti, an organization focused on mental health in South Asian communities.” And I want to personally thank her for initiating the collaboration between herself, the Center for South Asia, and us at the APIDASC to bring Emmy-nominated, international journalist Wajahat S. Khan to the MSC as a guest speaker.

We wish to recognize, honor, and express our gratitude for her contributions and her profound impact.

Aya Community Impact Award (BCC)

Jada Young has contributed to a campus environment that makes it easier for current and future Black students to bloom, flourish, and thrive. Her contributions to the Black community reaches beyond what she can see. She’s joined a legacy of student activists, leaders, and scholars who’ve made a lasting impact.