Volunteers recognized by General Motors

By Amy Vanderheyden

Three NIU students are the recipients of the Volunteer Spirit Award sponsored by General Motors, the company clinching the top spot in this year’s report of Fortune’s top 500 companies.

This year’s winners include senior English major Kier Harris, senior elementary education major Rebecca Monahan and second-year political science graduate student John Stack.

GM required all the applicants to list the volunteer services they have been active in and the number of hours they devoted to them. In addition, the applicants had to submit two letters of recommendation and describe the benefits they received as a result of their volunteer services.

All the winners will attend a reception with representatives from GM who will award each winner with a plaque bearing their name and five shares of the company’s common stock valued at $38.75 a share, as of April 7.

The winners said they were surprised when they found out they won and are not sure about what they will do with their stock.

“I was really excited. I really didn’t expect to win,” Harris said. “I think I’ll just hold onto my stock and hopefully it will go up soon.”

Monahan said she was equally surprise when she won but plans on giving the stock away.

“I was very happy and very flattered,” she said. “I don’t know what I will do with my stock. I’ll probably give it to my parents.”

Stack said he has decided to turn to his friends for stock advice and expressed his feelings about winning the award.

“I’ll probably ask one of my friends and find out what to do with the stock. When I found out I won, I was quite pleased. It was an honor and it compliments my academic achievements,” he said.

Jodie English, Office of Campus Recreation intern in marketing and promotions, said GM sponsors the Volunteer Spirit Award nationally because they want to emphasize students who donate their time.

“GM is really big on promoting volunteering with students and does not base the award on grades,” English said. “GM has been sponsoring the award for years. It is open to any NIU student, graduate or undergraduate.”

The winners all have contributed significantly to their communities and said they volunteer because they enjoy helping people.

“I like to put people before myself,” Monahan said. “At the same time when I help other people, it helps me grow.”

Monahan volunteers as a youth advocate for the Bridge Youth and Family Services, as a religious educator and as a note taker for the hearing impaired.

Harris also has a list of volunteer activities which include president of the Campus Activities Board, Student Admissions representative, NIU guide and member of the Committee for Undergraduate Academic Environment.

Lastly, Stack’s seven years at NIU has allowed him to donate his time to the Residence Hall Association, the intercollegiate debate, Students United for Life and the Student Association.