Student nominees await Celebration of Involvement

The Butler Center’s will recognize University of Miami student leaders for their service and contributions on April 12 during the annual Celebration of Involvement.
The Butler Center’s will recognize University of Miami student leaders for their service and contributions on April 12 during the annual Celebration of Involvement. Photo credit: The Butler Center for Service & Leadership

The Butler Center will welcome back its Celebration of Involvement awards ceremony on Tuesday, April 12, after a two year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Butler Center’s Celebration of Involvement recognizes students’ service and leadership on and off campus with a range of awards. It will be held in the Lakeside Expo center at 4 p.m. following a brief reception with food.

“Part of our work is looking at how can we highlight students at the end of the year that are involved in leadership across campus, in the community,” said Andrew Weimer, director of the Butler Center.

Students, faculty and professors nominate students who they believe embody the awards’ values of leadership and student involvement at UM and in greater Miami.

Fabrizio Darby, a nominee for the Vivian Berger Giller Impact Award and the Sherwood Weiser Memorial Award, is one such student.

Darby, a junior studying health science and biology, is a Student Experience Coordinator at the Butler Center, oversees the Impact leadership retreat, is a member of the P100, a First-Year Fellow, the president of Beta Beta Beta, the vice president for Canes Emergency Response Team and on the E-board for Gandhi day.

He also volunteers in hospice and created a program that helps kids in Jamaica, his home country.

“That’s what these awards are for, I believe, it highlights students who don’t always fly on the radar, for the students who work in the background,” Darby said. “A lot of the work I do is behind the scenes. I’m not someone who is necessarily the face of a lot. I do a lot of the work. I stay lowkey.”

Service has always been a core value of Darby’s.

“Whenever you climb, you also stretch your hand to help someone climb up with you,” Darby said.

Darby along with several other students anticipated the return as another exciting part of their nomination.

“I think it’s going to be great because Celebration of Involvement has been online the past two years,” said Esther Alexandre, a nominee for the Sherwood Weiser Memorial Fund for Student Community Service.

“I was kind of surprised about getting nominated because I looked back on the impact that I had on campus and was like, ‘Oh, wow,” Alexandre said. “Maybe someone was actually impacted by what I do on campus.”

Alexandre, a sophomore studying computer engineering, is thoroughly involved on campus with E-board positions in Planet Kreyol and the Homecoming Executive Committee. She also works with a racial justice grant initiative that exposes underprivileged students to STEAM subjects.

Alexandre’s nomination is in honor of Sherwood Weiser, “a distinguished business and civic leader whose lifelong dedication to community service had a significant impact at the University of Miami and throughout South Florida.”

The recipient of the Sherwood Weiser Memorial Fund for Student Community Service will be awarded a $2,000 scholarship.

The Celebration of Involvement began in 1985 with the Edward T. Foote II Award for Excellence in Student Leadership and Vice President’s Award for Service.

Both are among the most prestigious with the former offered to an “outstanding undergraduate senior at the University of Miami who has best demonstrated exemplary involvement, leadership and achievement in his or her college experience” and the latter to students who demonstrated exemplary community service.

Last year’s recipient of the Edward T. Foote Award, Dynesha Peterson, will be a speaker at the event.