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UBC Reports | Vol. 47 | No. 08 | April 19, 2001

Winners improve student life

From ensuring a safe walk at night to Christmas trees, the common theme is making a difference

by Bruce Mason staff writer

By day and night Roger Miller is one of 6,500 hard-working graduate students who play major roles in every department at UBC.

While conducting research on superconductors at the Tri-University Meson Facility (TRIUMF) he has also served for three years as president of the Graduate Student Society (GSS).

The PhD student in Physics and Astronomy is among those who will be honoured April 26 by the Campus Advisory Board on Student Development (CABSD).

CABSD awards recognize exceptional contributions or significant improvements to student experience and learning.

Established in 1998, the awards are named for former members of the university community who made major contributions to student life.

Miller shares this year's Margaret Fulton Award with Education graduate Rick Joe of the Native Indian Teacher Education Program (NITEP) and Forestry Assoc. Prof. John Worrall. The Fulton award is given to individuals.

"I was in a photocopy room when I was told I was needed at a meeting," Miller says, recalling his first GSS experience.

"I liked what I heard about supporting grad students and got involved as a representative. Then, after my first term as president, when the steep learning curve was behind me, there were still issues and problems facing the GSS."

Miller considers himself part of a group of some 300 people, mostly volunteers, who have revitalized UBC graduate student life.

They have turned around a nearly bankrupt graduate student society, established a health and dental plan and run a successful commercial operation including a pub and room bookings.

They've also provided services ranging from cheap lunches to the social and networking activities that are so important to graduate students, 20 per cent of whom are from outside Canada.

"The most important GSS function is to represent graduate students, particularly to UBC's administration," says Miller.

"We have different lifestyles and expectations than undergraduates. We have closer relationships with supervisors, more individual responsibility."

For more than three decades John Worrall's contributions to student life have included painting murals, providing an enormous Christmas tree and plants for the Forest Sciences building and numerous other initiatives.

Rick Joe, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Education, was instrumental in First Nations Education Awareness Day and other projects.

The Alma Mater Society (AMS) Safewalk program and International House ESL programs earns the Helen McCrae Award for an AMS, GSS, or UBC service to students.

Safewalk is a free service dedicated to making the campus a safe place for everyone at night. International House's flagship ESL program helps 250 students annually to polish their social and academic language skills.

The Faculty of Education's Centre for the Study of Curriculum and Instruction will receive the Peter Larkin Award for a graduate program or department.

It supports Education graduate students through a wide range of programs including a unique master's program for inner city full-time teachers, brown bag gatherings, research cafés, study groups and community outreach.

Nominations for the awards were made by students, faculty and staff. Winners were selected by the CABSD which includes representatives from across campus.

More information

For information on CABSD awards, call Linda Yuen at 604-822-3955.


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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