USC Alumni Chapter captures Western ‘spirit’

Nobody has more spirit for this institution than volunteers from the University Students’ Council (USC) Alumni Chapter. And now they have the hardware to prove it.

On Saturday, USC Alumni Chapter volunteers were presented with the 2015 Spirit of Western Award, an honour which recognizes an alumnus or alumni who embody, as the title might suggest, the ‘spirit’ of the institution through a commitment to enrich the lives of Western’s students and alumni. The award was presented at the Alumni Association’s Annual General Meeting.

The USC Alumni Chapter, based in Toronto, is comprised of volunteers who were involved in student governance while at Western. The award was accepted Saturday by David Simmonds, BA’07, and Ashley Rowe, BA’11, during the Western Alumni Association annual general meeting.

The group was honoured for its historical contributions “to centre the USC as an integral part of the Western alumni experience.”

Events organized by the chapter have been attended by as many as 125 Toronto-area alumni. Past events have included Mingle Bells and Summer Soiree.

In support of their decision, judges cited the group’s vibrant event planning, volunteer succession planning and solid governance, as well as its continued connection to students through the Lt. Col. James Walden Leadership Award. This award was established to honour an outstanding USC career and to recognize the contributions that Jim Walden made in his decade at the USC and to ensure future Councils remember his name and work. The award recognizes a departing (graduating) USC member who has served the USC in a non-executive capacity for two or more years.

“The USC Chapter is a continued extension of dedicated service from their USC leadership roles on campus,” said Eric Saarvala, BA’95, Alumni Engagement Committee chair and a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors. “The Alumni Association is proud to recognize this group in their alumni engagement activities.”

The award is just the latest milepost in an exciting year for the USC. This fall, the student group celebrates its 50th anniversary with a special reunion event at Homecoming.

“The Spirit of Western Award is an opportunity for our Alumni Association to recognize the outstanding contributions of our alumni, as ambassadors of Western, in their volunteer initiatives to connect with fellow alumni, students, the university and their own communities,” Saarvala said. “This ‘spirit’ is part of Western’s fabric. The Alumni Association strives to recognize and engage this spirit in our alumni.

“In short, this group of volunteers has spent a tremendous amount of time in living the mission of the Spirit of Western Award.”

Previous Spirit of Western Award winners have included Women’s Athletic Alumnae (WAA) and W Club volunteers (2014), Foundation Western volunteers (2013), Hong Kong Branch (2012), Toronto Branch (2011), Elgin County Branch (2010), Senior Alumni Executive and Committee (2009) and London Branch (2008).