by Shawna Leader/The AS Review

The Ethnic Student Center (ESC) will be hosting its annual awards ceremony at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 5 in the Viking Union Multipurpose Room. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. and the ceremony begins at 6:30. Afterward, there will be a dance in the Multipurpose Room from 8:30 to midnight.

The awards ceremony precedes the ESC, said Michael Vendiola, ESC coordinator. It was previously held by the Multicultural Services Center, the predecessor to the ESC. Later the ESC started to organize the event, Vendiola said.

For the first time, the five ESC Scholarships will be awarded at the event. Additionally, other scholarships, such as the Bellingham Diversity Scholarship, will be given.
The event is also an opportunity to celebrate the past year and say goodbye to the graduating students, Vendiola said. For example, there will be a video presentation reviewing the year.

“We’re going to recognize our graduates for the past academic year and summer quarter,” he said. “We’ll be recognizing all the ESC clubs and all their efforts for the past year.”

One award, the Academic Success Challenge, will go to the ESC club that has made academic success a top priority within their organization, Vendiola said. At the beginning of the academic year, the clubs are offered the challenge of earning the award, Vendiola said.

Ways that clubs can earn the award include interacting with the Career Services Center and the Tutorial Center, forming study groups and programming events that involve academic speakers.

“It’s not based on GPA, it’s based on the organization prioritizing academic success in whatever means they find necessary,” Vendiola said.

Vendiola cited the event “Platanos and Collard Greens” as an example of an academic endeavor put on by a club.

“Anything that teaches you about your culture and identity…anything that enhances your intellect” counts as an academic achievement, Vendiola said; the award is not limited to coursework.

Clubs compile a list of their accomplishments for the year and the lists are reviewed by Vendiola and the awards planning committee, Vendiola said. The award is meant to acknowledge the accomplishments of the clubs that are beyond programming.

“It’s really this idea of focusing on things greater than programming … we wanted to provide an avenue to recognize that,” Vendiola said.

The awards banquet is $10 for Western students with ID and $17 for the general public. The dance is free for people who attend the awards ceremony, $3 for Western students with ID and $5 general.