The College of Applied Sciences and Arts’ Committee to Enhance Equity and Diversity (CEED) reception was held on Tuesday, April 26, honoring six recipients whose combined effort and activities have made an important contribution to enhance equity and diversity at San José State University (SJSU) and/or in the community. CEED Award categories consist of an Undergraduate Student Award, Graduate Student Award, Faculty Award, Staff Award, and Student Organization Award.
The purpose of the CEED Awards is to recognize those individuals and groups that have demonstrated excellence in promoting and fostering a deeper understanding of equity and diversity as they relate to issues of age, class, disability, ethnicity, gender, race, religion and/or sexual orientation.
The recipients for the CEED Distinguished Service Award are:
Undergraduate Student Award – Navpreet Kaur, the Valley Foundation School of Nursing
Navpreet has led or been involved in several projects that promote equity and diversity on campus. In 2015, she led the Peace Pole Monument project that helped to place an official monument on campus. The Peace Pole is a hand-crafted wooden monument that has the message “May Peace Prevail On Earth” in the 12 most frequently used languages in Santa Clara County.
Navpreet also serves on the President’s Commission on Diversity which provides “input, recommendations, and advice to the President on effective ways to create a campus environment that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.” She initiated this project in an effort to counteract negative publicity related to diversity issues that were occurring on campus.
Graduate Student Award – Essraa Nawar, School of Information
Essraa Nawar is pursuing her passion to be a librarian focusing on programming and outreach in bringing diverse programming to the life of the libraries and the academic institutions she serves. One of Essraa’s strengths is her ability to create an atmosphere of awareness regarding ethnicity, gender, and religious diversity across campus.
She serves on the Chancellor’s Diversity Advisory Committee and developed a program on empowering Muslim women. Essraa coordinated the support of the Sikh American Community through Vaisakhi programming, an exhibition on demystifying the turban. She also spoke at a TED Talk in Munich, Germany, to further her diversity message to change the narrative of how people see Muslim women specifically and Muslim people in general.
Graduate Student Award – Cotton Stevenson, School of Journalism and Mass Communications
Cotton conceived the slogan “Diversity University” as part of a class project to make a difference at SJSU. He didn’t stop there. Cotton decided to make issues surrounding diversity and acceptance on the SJSU campus the focus of his second master’s degree. Because of him, we now have an annual Diversity Day at SJSU.
As a graphic artist, Stevenson created the logo for the event as well. He is now in the final stages of a documentary about the history and importance of diversity on this campus. He’s already completed several impressive interviews for this project which include Jeanne Wakatsuki, the author of Farewell to Manzanar, Erik Grotz, the student who suggested the Tommie Smith-John Carlos sculptures as well as with the artist who created it.
He was also awarded a proclamation by Rep. Zoe Lofgren for his commitment to “Diversity University.”
Faculty Award – Dr. William Armaline, Justice Studies
Dr. Armaline established and serves as coordinator of the Human Rights Program at SJSU. As a part of that initiative, he implemented the popular Human Rights Minor, a program through which students gain an understanding of various human rights problems that affect their community, including racism, discrimination, and inequality. He is committed to raising awareness on campus to issues of equity and diversity. As a part of this effort, he founded and continues to coordinate the annual human rights event.
He chairs the Human Rights Working Group, which serves as a platform for faculty to engage in issues of equity and diversity. Throughout his work, Dr. Armaline single handedly serves as a hub for students who are interested in increasing equity on campus. He informally advises students on activism both on and off campus.
Dr. Armaline is also involved in numerous activities in the community. He authored reports on social justice issues, served as a National Board Member in Save the Kids, a grass-roots organization dedicated to alternatives to end of the incarceration of youth, is a Council Member in the Santa Clara County Child Abuse Council. He most recently initiated a partnership with DeBug, a San José media, community organizing, and entrepreneurial collective that leads successful social justice campaigns to advance the rights of youth, workers, immigrants and those impacted by the criminal justice system.
Staff Award – Silvia La Rosa, School of Journalism and Mass Communications
In addition to providing extensive administrative support for more than 500 School of Journalism and Mass Communications (JMC) students and 22 faculty, Silvia is a committed advocate for SJSU diversity students.
Silvia offers extraordinary time and effort to advising and mentoring all students. She connects on a powerful level with JMC School Spanish speaking students. Her translation skills combined with her knowledge of university procedures and her deep passion for helping students find their voice and express their creativity has resulted in numerous success stories that are greatly admired and appreciated in our program.
In Fall 2015, she was a leading advocate for fundraising of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts international learning initiative. She played a significant role in helping persuade a special JMC guest, CNN Correspondent Sara Sidner from Los Angeles, to donate her William Randolph Hearst honorarium to start a newly created fund and campaign to raise scholarship money to help SJSU students from poor and under-represented communities to participate. She plays an instrumental role in helping the school director create Spanish community messages and promotions that invite Bay Area business and schools to partner with JMC.
Silvia always finds the time to encourage students and faculty.
Student Organization Award – Alpha Phi Sigma Iota Chapter, Justice Studies
A team of Iota Chapter members and alumni volunteered at the Center with the Prison Education Project (PEP), teaching the 7 week Academic Orientation Course. They met every Friday with a group of formerly incarcerated individuals currently on parole. They created presentations about college as well as give mini-lectures based on topics in Justice Studies majors (e.g. consequences of mass incarceration and juvenile justice). A big component of this program is engaging the program participants in discussions about the topics presented as well as their interests and needs. In addition, Iota chapter collected and donated 100 backpacks with everyday necessities and held a clothing drive on campus for the Santa Clara County Resource Reentry Center to give to their clients.
Congratulations to all 2015-16 CEED Award winners!