Members of Volunteer USI, the University of Southern Indiana’s volunteer organization, celebrated another successful year at the annual Volunteer USI Recognition Dinner on August 27. Volunteers contributed a total of 129,449 hours during the 2014-15 fiscal year.
Three special recognition awards were presented at the Volunteer Recognition Luncheon last Wednesday. The Student Volunteer of the Year award recognizes a student who has performed outstanding volunteer service to USI and/or the community through the Volunteer USI program. The Mentor of the Year award recognizes a USI faculty, staff, alumni or community member who has mentored a current USI student to enhance their development in their overall academic field. The Volunteer of the Year award recognizes a USI faculty, staff, alumni or community member who has performed outstanding volunteer service to USI and /or the community through the Volunteer USI program.
Student Volunteer of the Year
Meshac Gervais, a graduate student in the Master of Public Administration, was recognized as the 2015 Student Volunteer of the Year. Gervais, who graduated this past spring, came to USI as an undergraduate exchange student from Haiti. While the exchange programs require 20 hours of community service, he contributed 300 volunteer hours. Not only did his efforts surpass requirements, he also coordinated student volunteer opportunities through his work in USI’s Center for International Programs (CIP), and within three semesters USI students had logged 700 hours of community service.
Gervais set goals for fellow students, created ways to involve them in activities, spoke to students during orientation week and expanded and solidified USI’s partnerships with local nonprofits.
“The heart of USI’s mission is to prepare individuals to live wisely in a diverse and global community,” said Heidi Gregori-Gahan, assistant provost for International Programs and Services. “It’s a mission that Gervais carries in his heart as well.”
Since graduation he has continued his passion for serving others and is now working at One World Children’s Fund in California.
Mentor of Year
Doris Allen, educator and compliance officer in radiology for Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center, was the 2015 Mentor of Year. She serves as a hospital-supported clinical instructor for students enrolled in the USI Radiologic and Imaging Sciences Program. She regularly attends meetings associated with USI’s radiology program and has impacted policy development and regulation through her input and expertise.
Allen provides weekly instruction to students educating them through numerous tips of the trade, such as image quality, techniques, case studies and professional practice standards. “She rejoices in the successes and accomplishments of each student and inspires them to move beyond being ordinary to becoming extraordinary individuals and exemplars for the future of the profession,” said Heather Schmuck, clinical assistant professor of Radiologic and Imaging Services.
Volunteer of the Year
The 2015 Volunteer of the Year award winner was Karla Horrell ’77, a USI alumna. She is the executive director of Evansville Association for the Blind, who also devotes substantial time and energy to USI Athletes. Mandi Fulton, coordinator of Athletic Outreach and Events, can’t remember a single event for USI Athletes that Horrell has not volunteered to help with. “Karla is not only a great Varsity Club volunteer, but she’s a member of our athletics family,” said Fulton. “Her outgoing personality and her positive attitude make her a great ambassador for USI Athletics.”
The Volunteer USI Recognition Dinner is held each fall for those who have completed 20 or more cumulative hours over the prior USI fiscal year. The Volunteer USI program began in 1996 and has since documented more than 1.4 million hours donated. Profiles of past recipients can be found online.
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Photo Credit: USI Photography and Multimedia
Left to right: Taynara Oliveria de Almeida (accepted award on behalf of Meschac Gervais, President Linda L.M. Bennett, Doris Allen and Karla Horrell.