The Shippensburg University Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA) honored multicultural and underrepresented minority students for academic excellence at its Rally for Retention Feb. 18. Roughly 70 awards were handed out to students who achieved GPAs between 2.5 and 4.0 last semester.
The ceremony opened with a presentation by members of the Shippensburg orientation team, several of whom got involved through MSA. The presenters encouraged students to become orientation leaders, helping them to meet new people and get involved on campus.
Following the presentation, awards were distributed in four categories. These were GPAs between 2.5 and 2.9; 3.0 and 3.2; 3.3 and 3.9 and 4.0.
Diane L. Jefferson, MSA director at SU, then called five award recipients to the stage and asked them about the importance of Rally for Retention. She also opened up the floor to the audience.
“It’s important to prove to yourself and to others that you can do it,” said Khaleel Lindsey, who received an award for his academic achievements. “It keeps going after a 2.5 [GPA]. It doesn’t stop right here.”
Some students shared personal stories about the hardships they faced and continue to face as they work through their college careers.
Chris Leguizamon, a student who attended the ceremony, said, “It’s not about just being here — it’s about finishing it and finishing it well.”
Arlette Houston, a graduate student working with MSA, said she sent out approximately 750 emails to MSA students and underrepresented minorities on campus who are excelling academically. “[Rally for Retention] was for MSA students, but we opened it up to everyone,” she said.
The importance of Rally for Retention is to encourage students to aspire to academic excellence and the leadership that comes with it, says Jefferson.
“Leadership is centered on scholarship. If we help each other, we are more likely to succeed,” she said.
MSA will honor students once more in May at the annual MSA Recognition Ball. In addition to accolades like those of the Rally for Retention, MSA will also award scholarships and laptops to students who have earned a high level of academic distinction.
Students interested in getting involved with MSA can contact Jefferson at email@example.com.