Month: March 2018


Student of the Month

School: University of Maryland, College Park Region: CAACURH
Nominee: Shawn Verma Nominator: Ben Reichard

On-Campus Population: 12500 Chapter Size: 125

Please explain the outstanding contributions of the nominee during the month of nomination

“Students must have initiative; they should not be mere imitators. They must learn to think and act for themselves - and be free.” - Cesar Chavez

Shawn Verma distinguished himself as a student leader by demonstrating tremendous initiative during the month of March. A leader with the school band and a Senator with the Residence Hall Association (RHA), he saw opportunities where others did not and seized those chances. Shawn has become a true leader in his student organizations.

Early in March, Shawn and the band traveled with our basketball team to the Big10 Tournament in New York City. Our team was eliminated in the first round, but that did not discourage Shawn. In the limited time available, he led the band around the city, showing them the sights while fostering friendships and improving morale. He used this chance to build up the people around him.

Shawn made huge contributions to his RHA council during the month of March. For several weeks, the council had considered recommending changes to the area’s trash rooms to make them more effective. Shawn helped champion those efforts by attending a special meeting, brainstorming solutions, and drafting a preliminary sample of better signage. These efforts helped further the council’s goals for sustainability. At another council meeting, they hosted representatives from the campus’ Dining Services to discuss meal plans. During the meeting, Shawn took a facilitator role, asking insightful questions and challenging assumptions. He helped make the meeting meaningful for both parties.

His RHA council wanted to host a Family-Feud type event in March. The idea seemed promising, but it required a lot of planning and preparation. Although it was not assigned to his position in the council, Shawn stepped up and accepted responsibility for this event. He found questions from a previous event and drafted up new ones. He even served as the host, bringing a humorous and enjoyable atmosphere to the event. It was one of the Council’s most attended events of the year, and Shawn played a major role in its success.

Shawn’s initiative in March was most clearly demonstrated by his tremendous RHA Senate resolution. One night, he had an encounter with a smoker who was in a non-designated area. Shawn knew that our campus is considered “smoke free,” and later looked further into what that policy meant. A smoke-free campus simply meant that there were a handful of designated smoking spots. But Shawn adeptly realized that several parts of campus were underserved by these spots. He spent hours researching the policies of other universities and brainstorming solutions. Ultimately, he thought that two new locations should be added so more people would follow the rules and campus could become a healthier space.

He then used his platform as a Senator to draft and present a resolution at the RHA Senate. A resolution like this may have been beyond the traditional scope of what Senate entertains, but Shawn boldly believed we should do whatever we can to improve campus. He provided thoughtful, well-researched responses to other Senators’ concerns, and ultimately a consensus was reached in agreement with Shawn’s recommendations. He is now going to take this recommendation to the campus’ facilities departments to follow through on implementation. Thanks to Shawn’s initiative and fearless idea, he has taken large steps to improving our campus environment.

This month also featured a nominations period for next year’s executive positions within RHA. It was no surprise to see Shawn nominated for several high-profile positions - he has inspired others with his actions and leadership! Shawn’s tremendous initiative and passion clearly qualifies him for Student of the Month!

Word Count: 600

Date of entry into database: 2018-04-04 13:33:52

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