Student leaders gain award for excellence

By Lynn Kallal

The Office of University Programming and Activities has named their December Student Leaders of the Month.

Valerie Boeldt and Sherri Strohecker, co-directors of the NIU Volunteer Bureau, have been recognized as outstanding contributors to the good of students at NIU.

Each month UPusA recognizes student leaders who have made outstanding efforts towards enhancing the quality of student life on campus, according to Jeff Cufaude, program coordinator of UPusA. Boeldt and Strohecker were chosen for all the work they had done with the bureau last semester.

The bureau recruits and coordinates efforts of NIU students who volunteer their time to various agencies.

Cufaude said, “We are a liaison between students who want to give some time helping, and the places who need the help. We provide transportation for the students. We work with the St. Charles and Valley View Correctional Center, the C.C.S—a special group home for mentally retarded adults, and the DeKalb nursing home. We also just started working with the Aurora Blood Bank.”

It was during the fall when, through the efforts of Boeldt and Strohecker, NIU defeated Western Illinois University (WIU) in the blood drive campaign. According to Kris Stutzman, a representative of the Aurora Area Blood Bank, NIU donated 682 pints of blood, representing 2.96 percent of the student body, while WIU donated 320 pints, representing 2.71 percent of their student body.

“We choose to award the title to Valerie and Sherri because of the good job they did in turning the organization around,” Cufaude said. “Two years ago the bureau was a dead organization. Now there are about 100 active members.”

Boeldt said, “The girl in charge before us had been embezzling funds from the bureau. The bureau wasn’t very popular. No one wanted to be a part of it.”

Cufaude said the staff was particularly impressed with the planning they did for next year. “They already started working with their replacements so the bureau will be even better next year.”

UPusA takes outside nominations for the award, although most of the nominations come from the office itself since they are the primary office in contact with all student organizations at NIU. The entire staff votes, Cufaude said.

Boeldt and Strohecker’s nominations described them as “true student leaders who are capable of managing academics, personal life and organizational commitments.”

Past recipients of the Student Leader Award are Cam Davis, the head of Student Association Public Relations, Rochelle Michalek of the Homecoming Committee, Chris Smith, Campus Activities Board Speaker and Leigh Ann Stouffer, Panhellenic Rush Chair.