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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Scholastic society gets gold standard

The UA’s National Society of Collegiate Scholars received a gold star for its efforts in volunteering and community enrichment during the 2011 NSCS convention held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, this summer.

“It’s a great experience,” said Samer Shamsuddin, a senior studying political science and near Eastern studies. “We have consistently gotten the award over the last few years. Our members really put in the time and thankfully we were able to get it again this year.”

The award was given to chapters of NSCS that exceeded the standards of the organization by creating a recruitment campaign on their campus, holding an introduction ceremony for new members, involving themselves in student mentoring programs and holding campuswide events to promote integrity and a sense of community.

“It’s something that you have to earn, and we worked really hard to get that award,” said Karina Hernandez, a psychology senior and president of the NSCS UA chapter. “There were a number of different things we had to touch on to be considered, and everything was taken into account when they picked us for the award.”

Last year, the UA chapter involved itself with community programs such as mentoring children at middle schools in Tucson Unified School District and cooking more than 30 turkeys for a Thanksgiving dinner for refugee families through the Somali Bantu Project, a nonprofit organization for refugee resettlement.

“That was a memorable experience,” Hernandez said. “We got to talk with them and bonded with the kids and the families. That was really special for us, to be a part of something that really made their night and feel welcomed to the community.”

The UA chapter was only one organized event away from receiving the Platinum STAR Award, which is the highest honor the society offers. In an effort to qualify this year, the chapter will be changing up its routine by adding high school mentoring and becoming more involved with the Andrew McDonough B Foundation, through which it will provide support to children undergoing cancer treatment.

“This organization is really developed by the ideas of the students and planned by the students,” said Mark Riley, the NSCS faculty advisor and head of the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. “I think we are heading certainly in the right direction of receiving the platinum award, but the whole goal of the chapter is to give back the community, and that is the primary focus.”

The NSCS organization boasts more than 300 chapters on college campuses in the U.S. The UA chapter of NSCS began taking students in 1999, and continues to accept members who show interest in community service.

“The effort is just genuine in our members and is something they enjoy doing,” Hernandez said. “It is not just something to put on a resume, I think the quality of our work is what sets us apart from that.”

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