Let’s face it, we have all had that dream to walk a red carpet with famous Hollywood stars, gazing into a sea of flashing cameras, getting the chance for a spotlight. But the reality… most of us will never get to that point. But we do have the next best thing: Brandeis’ own awards show, The Ollies!
After a conversation between Director of Student Activities Dennis Hicks, Student Activities Specialist Robbie Steinberg and members of the Student Union, the awards show was born. Led by Benedikt Reynolds ’19, The Ollies “is meant to help recognize the work and passion students, clubs, faculty and staff put in through the year and spread some love,” Reynolds told The Brandeis Hoot in an email.
Reynolds and the rest of the founding committee thought the award show would be a great opportunity for the extracurricular community to come together outside of the Activities Fair to recognize the work that students put in throughout the school year.
A committee of seven undergraduates were chosen from different club categories across campus to form the Ollies Awards Selection Committee, according to their website: academic, spiritual, sports and fitness, media and publications, political and advocacy, etc. Along with Hicks and Steinberg, this committee will review all the nominations and select award winners.
According to The Ollies official website, the main inspiration for The Ollies was the student leader awards that are given out at The University of Chicago (UC). A majority of the categories of awards are similar to UC with the addition of a few awards to recognize more groups on campus.
There are eight different award categories, but there is no limit to the number of awards that will be given out in each category, according to their website. All the nomination forms involve the nominator to give reasons why the nominee is deserving of each of the respective awards. The committee will then use this reasoning to decide on winners.
The nomination deadline is Wednesday, April 10 at 11:59 p.m. Any undergraduate, faculty or staff member can nominate someone for an award. Nominators can only nominate a person, event or club once per award but are able to make as many nominations as they want.
Winners will be notified on April 17th and will be given their awards at the ceremony on May 1 in the SCC theater and atrium at 7 p.m.
RISE Up Award: This award is open to all undergraduate students that have demonstrated the principles of RISE: Reflect, Intervene, Speak, Engage. “Through their engagement with members of the campus community, student awardees represent our shared commitment to the values of diversity and inclusion,” according to the award description.
Volunteer Service Award: This award is open to all undergraduate students; however, self-nominations are not accepted. Students must be nominated by a member of the Brandeis community or beyond. “The award acknowledges voluntary community service that extends beyond the boundaries of Brandeis and has significant impact on the greater community,” according to the award description. The selection committee will also look at the nominee’s engagement in community service to the greater community beyond Brandeis.
Outstanding Leadership Award: This award is only open to graduating seniors who have made “outstanding contributions” through their co-curricular activities and to a range of different campus organizations.
Campus Life and Leadership Award: This award is open to all undergraduate students on campus who have made “exceptional and unique contributions to the University community,” according to the award description. The award is similar to the Outstanding Leadership Award, except it is open to non-graduating students.
Unsung Hero Award: This award is open to all undergraduate students who do not serve in an executive leadership position. “The Unsung Hero award recognizes students who have positively influenced a program or organization from behind the scenes with a positive attitude, a willingness to help in whatever capacity necessary, and a commitment to excellence,” according to the award description.
Outstanding Faculty and Staff Award: Open to any faculty or staff member at Brandeis, this award is specifically targeted towards work done during the 2018-2019 academic school year. The award is looking to honor members of the faculty and staff that have positively influenced and improved student organizations on campus and made exceptional contributions to the Brandeis community.
Club of the Year: Open to any club on campus, regardless if they are recognized by the Student Union or not, this award recognizes different student organizations that have “demonstrated consistent flexibility, initiative, creativity and perseverance through their activities and programs,” according to the award description. Members of the club are able to nominate their own organization and the actions must have been accomplished April 2018 through March 2019.
Event of the Year: This award is open to any event that was organized and put on during the 2018-2019 academic school year. The organizing group does not have to be a recognized club by the Student Union and members of the planning committee for the event are able to nominate their own event. “The organization’s event exemplified a commitment to leadership development, collaboration among groups, and programmatic efforts to enhance the quality of campus life at Brandeis,” according to the award description.