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Six share 2008-09 Innovation Award
3/27/09

Six Alfred University students have been awarded Honorable Mention designation, sharing the 2008-09 Richard V. Bergren Jr. Student Innovation Award for their achievements in identifying and solving a need within the AU community.

The Richard V. Bergren, Jr. Student Innovation Awards are presented annually in recognition of a student or groups of students who identify a need and develop a solution that will have a lasting impact. Projects eligible for the awards may improve the quality of life for any Alfred constituency, including students, faculty and staff, alumni, or members of the surrounding community.

First on the list of this year’s recipients is the team of sophomore Marketing Major Jessica Marble of Wellsville and sophomore English and Political Science Major Kevin Kostyk of Tabernacle NJ, who coordinated a weeklong series of events designed to raise awareness of breast cancer. Proceeds from the week’s activities were donated to benefit the Susan G. Komen Passionately Pink for the Cure Fund. Marble and Kostyk’s program included sales of pink shirts, an AU-shaped “pink” rally on Merrill (football) Field, a reception hosted by University President Dr. Charles M. Edmondson, and an open-mic event for people to share their stories.

Marble worked behind the scenes covering the advertising and promotion of the event as well as initiating local community involvement. She helped to design t-shirts, wrote press releases, and also worked with local businesses to set up a pink can collection drive.

Kostyk focused on involving the AU athletics teams, coaches, and staff in the event. Teams received shirts at a discounted price in return for helping advertise the event. They also wore pink wristbands and participated in the Pink AU photo on Merrill Field.

More than 15 student organizations were involved in the event by working the merchandise table in Powell Campus Center. Marble and Kostyk hope the activities will become an annual tradition on AU’s campus.

Next on the list of recipients is Emily Tobin, a junior psychology and sociology major from Penfield, NY. Tobin was instrumental in bringing about change within the Athletics Department. She worked to implement a new logo as well as an updated Web site to better reflect the Saxons sports teams. Working as a member of a committee of Alfred staff members and coaches, Tobin is considered a driving force behind these changes to the athletics marketing tools.

Tobin says she understands that Alfred is a unique type of university that may not always be the easiest place to recruit incoming athletes. She believed that a new, more attractive Web site could help get Alfred noticed by potential students. She also believed that the most important part of the Web site was a new logo. A few options were put together and students, parents, and alumni were asked to vote on a favorite. The winning logo is a modernly designed “AU” with a blade running through the center.

Senior Fine Art Major Gianna Michael from Fort Lauderdale, FL is next on the list of Innovation Award Honorable Mention recipients. Michael coordinated two successful art auctions raising money to help educate underprivileged children in India. The money will go to a school in Orchha, India as well as sponsor two children to attend the school. According to Michael, the school provides the Dalits caste children, also known as “the untouchables,” with education, food, clothing, shoes, books, etc. These children are in such difficult situations that they would often spend their lives wandering the streets begging for money.

After spending some of a summer in India volunteering at the small school, Michael was stunned at how much we take for granted here and wanted to help those less fortunate. Michael knows that having auctions for charity is a great way for students to thin out their collections of work as well as contribute to a good cause. She hopes the auctions will have both a communal and individual impact at Alfred and would like the auctions to become a tradition.

Silas Albrecht, 2008 AU alumnus from New York City, and junior Communication Studies Major Tom Fleming from Penn Yan, NY complete the list of this year’s student Innovation Award Honorable Mention recipients. Finding a need for a greater distribution of the student-run Fiat Lux newspaper as well as a new Fiat Lux Web site were the two goals of these communications students.

Albrecht found city-style news distribution boxes which he used to distribute the Fiat Lux and coordinated a student contest to paint the boxes in trendy styles. He also created a user-friendly and regularly updated Web site which allows for recording interviews and events to be linked with the articles.

After Albrecht graduated last spring, Fleming took over and has followed in his fellow communication major’s footsteps by improving the site frequently and keeping the news content current and up-to-date. This duo set out to build a permanent and professional presence to raise awareness of the newspaper. With paper boxes placed throughout AU’s campus, students have an easier time finding a paper and may be more likely to read one.

This project was also a way to involve art students in the student newspaper. By creating a contest to paint the boxes in trendy ways, art students were able to contribute to this project and get involved in an area with little artistic influence.

Albrecht and Fleming agree that the boxes as well as the Web site both contribute to AU’s image. They feel that both projects will attract new writers and readers to spread knowledge about what’s happening at school and can act as a medium to discuss important issues.