After hosting a fundraiser for the Japan tsunami disaster and six events for Asian Heritage Month last year, junior Charles DeRupe was in for a surprise.
DeRupe, the marketing manager of the Emerson Recognition and Achievement Awards last year, was presented with the Student Leader of the Year award. After putting on an event every month in the academic year for Asian Students for Intercultural Awareness, the organization president’s hard work paid off.
“I didn’t think it was going to be me, but I was really proud, and it was a moment when I felt like, ‘Wow, I’m contributing a lot and my own efforts are helping to make this school a little bit better,’” said the marketing communication major.
The ERA Awards, a tradition established more than 50 years ago, provides campus-wide recognition for students within categories that range from Outstanding Resident Assistant, to Greek of the Year, to Diversity Advancement Award, according to the Emerson website.
This year, the ERA committee has rebranded itself, according to Joe Petrowski, a senior performing arts major and the organization’s coordinator for the ERA Awards. The ceremony has been given a new face with a bright green and purple logo, and the ceremony — originally named “Hand Me Down Night” in the late 1950s — has been developed into a full production with hosts and performances.
“Last year was the first year they did hosts and before, it was very straight-forward, like ‘these are the awards’, but this year they’re trying to make it more production-esque,” said Lauren Cortizo, a junior marketing communication major and co-host for the event along with Srda Vasiljevic, a sophomore performing arts major.
The ERA Awards feature 11 specialized awards, which students are nominated for during a two-and-a-half week process in March, said Corey Starbuck, a senior marketing communication major. Starbuck, the ERA Awards chair, said nominations are open to everyone in the Emerson community. Once nominations are submitted, select committees of faculty and staff decide on a recipient of the specialized award, said Starbuck.
Leaders can also be recognized via Twitter, using the hashtag #ERAccomplish, as a way to keep track of outstanding achievements across the 90 Student Government Association-recognized organizations, Starbuck said. Anyone from the Emerson community is able to mention a leader using this hashtag.
The annual night of student recognition includes a reception for ingoing and outgoing presidents of organizations on campus, in which succeeding presidents cross the stage as a way of receiving the title, said Petrowski. The night also consists of a dinner portion as well as the ceremony when the awards are announced, Petrowski said. All SGA recognized organizations are invited — including the Berkeley Beacon — every year, said Starbuck.
Along with dinner, the ERA Awards will also include a playlist of music that is exclusively produced by Emerson students. The organizers of the ERA Awards would like to keep a portion of the night a surprise, however, they do say audience members can expect special acts featuring Emerson students in song and dance, as well as appearances by President M. Lee Pelton and Dean of Students Ronald Ludman, according to Starbuck.
“We’re featuring everything Emersonian,” Starbuck said.
Though the acts will be a surprise, Starbuck said one thing is certain: the ERA Awards is a night of celebration and appreciation.
“This is just a great day to recognize the achievements that people have had here at Emerson and kind of let them know that they are making a difference in the Emerson community,” said DeRupe.
The ERA Awards will be held in the Courtyard Marriott on April 22, 2012 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $5.