Awards of Excellence recognizes those making TRU better

Awards given out to staff and students for making TRU a better place to learn and work

Grace McDonell won the Student Advocate Award for advocating on behalf of LGBTQ+ students. (Jennifer Will/The Omega)

The first annual TRUSU Awards of Excellence recognized students, staff and faculty across six categories. The awards look to honour members of the TRU community that represent the things that make TRU a great place to go to school.

The event took place on March 27 in the Mountain Room and recognized eight students and staff, who were nominated by their peers and were then picked by the board based on how nominees exemplified TRUSU’s mission and values.

“In setting these awards one of the things we did is we sat back and decided on the kinds of behaviour the Students’ Union wanted to see on campus that we wanted to reward and that we wanted to see exemplified from staff, students and faculty,” said Nathan Lane TRUSU’s executive director.

The Student Empowerment Award for a staff member was awarded to Craig Campbell and the Student Empowerment Award for a student was awarded to Gabby Fisher. The Student Advocate Award for a staff member went to Brenda Smith, while the Student Advocate Award for a student was received by Grace McDonell. Tony Bell was the staff member who received the Student Support Award and Yasir Khan was the student who was awarded the Student Support Award. The Teaching Award went to Robert Hanlon and the Club Leadership Award went to Jesse Biddlecombe.

Grace McDonell, is a third law student at TRU and says that receiving this award is an incredible honour.

“I feel so grateful and I think that this is a huge reflection of my faculty at the law school and my fellow students as well,” McDonell said.

Dylan Robinson, TRUSU’s Equity Coordinator, says that McDonell was nominated and selected for work done advocating for the voices of LGBTQ+ students in Ottawa at a Supreme Court hearing.

“As Grace’s numerous nominators describe, ‘her work inside and outside the classroom ensures diverse voices are welcome and creates a consensus for community building and social change that is inspiring to fellow students, faculty and staff.’ Her strong voice for equity and respect represents our TRUSU values in practice,” said Robinson.

McDonell added that this type of work has been super rewarding in terms of personal and career growth.

“I think that I have a voice and that I feel a duty to use that voice to help people and I think that is what I have always tried to do during my law school career. Not just be in the classroom, but in the community as well and that kind of led me to the Supreme Court of Canada,” McDonell said.

After classes are wrapped up in a April, McDonell will start articling with a law firm in Vancouver.