Student Life Awards

Tonight the University of Guelph hosted their annual Student Life Awards. The event honours students, staff, faculty, and community partners who work to make a difference to the student experience at the University of Guelph.

Two years ago I attended the event to watch as Corey Alexander, Lee-Jay Cluskey-Belanger, and Oliver Cook were awarded the Be The Change Award, and Kate Vsetula and Lisa Needham were awarded the Emilie Hayes Community Partnership Award for their work on the Farm To Fork program.

Tonight I was proud to watch as Patrick Houlding and Jonathan MacPherson were awarded the Gordon Nixon Leadership Award for their work co-organizing the Guelph Hacks for Mental Health hackathon that was held earlier this month1.

Organizing an event like Guelph Hacks is no simple undertaking. It requires a significant amount of time and effort, a lot of communication, and a solid team. And I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better team to work with. Both Pat and Jon have spent countless hours over the past year pulling the event together, even though they both had full schedules. Jon is a 3rd year Engineering student and was the student rep for the local Tilt.com chapter, and Pat is a 3rd year Computer Science student and President of the Society for Computing and Information Sciences and the Guelph Coding Community.

Both Pat and Jon went above and beyond to make Guelph Hacks for Mental Health the most successful hackathon we’ve ever organized in the School of Computer Science. More than that, by bringing together an interdisciplinary set of University of Guelph students, they helped give voice to mental health issues and provided a space where students could be part of the solution to support positive mental health on campus.

Standing with them as they accepted their award, I couldn’t help but feel damn lucky that I get to work with students who continue to inspire me as they embody and work to bring positive change on campus and beyond.

Congrats guys! This award is well-deserved, and I’m incredibly proud of you both.


1 Jon was also awarded the Be The Change Award for organizing a fundraiser to say thanks to Bob of UofG’s Bob’s Dogs, a unique and important part of our campus family.

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