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UNG hosts award ceremony for Blue and Gold winners


The 2021 Blue and Gold Awards was held in the Dining Hall Banquet Room on the Dahlonega campus and in the Robinson Ballroom on the Gainesville campus on April 14.

Mallory Rodriguez, Director of Student Leadership, said “In planning for blue and gold this year, we wanted to honor some in person experiences to really help people gather and celebrate the good work that’s been done despite so many challenges.”

The event was held on two campuses for a limited number of students and faculty to attend, as well as streamed for anyone else to watch online if they were unable to make it. UNG Student Involvement posted the awards ceremony on YouTube titled “Blue and Gold Awards 2021” for anyone to go back and rewatch.

“Because capacities were limited, we knew we couldn’t accommodate everyone who might want to be here to celebrate,” said Rodriguez,  “so we really chose to take a hybrid route and have some in person watch parties on a couple of our campuses, and have the video presentation streamed for everyone to be able to view.”

The event began with virtual introductions by Jelma Flores-Mota, SGA president, and Noah Bryant, SGA Senate Chair, and was followed by recognizing the 29 new organizations that were added this year.

Blue and Gold awards
2021 virtual Blue and Gold awards                                     Photo by: Becca Mamane

There were 12 main categories of awards, some of which included Outstanding Service to the Campus and/or Community, Best Collaborative Event, Best New Event, Best Emerging Organization, Most Improved Organization, and Student Leader of the Year. The next group recognized were the three recipients of the Leadership Certificate Program. The last awards given out for the night were awarded to individuals who exemplify UNG’s five core values: service, integrity, student-focus, engagement, and excellence.

Students could have either been nominated by their peers or faculty members, or they could have filled out an application form to nominate themselves. From there, a committee made up of faculty, staff, and students, reviewed each application and chose the individual or organization that they felt was most rewarding.

Due to the circumstances, the winners were not able to accept a physical certificate at the awards ceremony, but they will be able to pick one up at their campus’s Office of Student Involvement on Monday, April 19.

Rodriguez said they will continue to post on the Student Involvement social media pages to recognize the students who were rewarded for their hard work this year.

Although the event was not as large and glamorous as it has been in the past, UNG still made it possible to hold the event in the safest way possible following Covid-19 guidelines.

Blue and Gold Main Award Winners:

Outstanding Service to the Campus and/or Community

Dahlonega: María Maciel

Gainesville: Voice of the Emancipated (VOTE)

Oconee: Noah Bryant

Best Collaborative Event

Dahlonega: Black History Month Film: Get On Up hosted by Black Student Union and Nighthawks Entertainment

Best New Event

Dahlonega: Dead End Drive-in hosted by Nighthawks Entertainment

Gainesville: Candid Conversations with Cops hosted by the Sociology Club

Oconee: SGA Breakfast hosted by the Student Government Association

Best Emerging Organization

Dahlonega: Knight Hawks

Most Improved Student Organization

Dahlonega: Women’s Softball Club

Gainesville: Vanguard Student Newspaper

Outstanding Commitment to Diversity and Equity

Dahlonega: Gender and Sexuality Alliance

Gainesville: Jenna Goodrich

Outstanding Student Organization Advisor of the Year

Dahlonega: Lisa Nash

Unsung Hero

Dahlonega: Anna Chitwood

Gainesville: Dina Makadiya Oconee: Jesse Cogan

Emerging Student Leader

Dahlonega: Anna Kate Butterworth

Gainesville: Nathalia Ingles Oconee: Margaret (Maggie) Holt

Student Leader of the Year

Dahlonega: Sidney Martin

Gainesville: Vansh Patel

Oconee: Isabella Martinez

Blue Ridge: Xandrea Dantin

Event of the Year

Dahlonega: Hispanic Heritage Month Keynote Speaker: Jackie Cruz hosted by Multicultural Student Affairs
Gainesville: Halloween Drive-in Movie hosted by Nighthawks Entertainment
Oconee: Nighthawks Entertainment Drive-in Movie

Student Organization of the Year

Dahlonega: Political Science Student Association

Gainesville: Debate Club at UNG

Oconee: Student Government Association

Leadership Certificate Program Recipients:

Lauren LeBarron
Rob Burgess
Caitlyn Bergey

Nighthawk Spirit Awards

Service: Noah Bryant

Integrity: Cadet Derek Whitmore

Student-focus: Jelma Flores-Mota

Engagement: Hannah Elizabeth Clark

Excellence: Cheyenne Chester

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UNG hosts award ceremony for Blue and Gold winners