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The Eastern Echo

The Eastern Echo Podcast Logo Fall 2019

Podcast: May 26, 2021

EMU launches the "Give Rise" campaign, collaborates with U-M to help local seniors, and holds the 60th Annual Alumni Awards.

Ronia Cabansag: On this week’s episode, we’ll be talking about EMU’s “Give Rise” campaign, as well as the university's collaboration with the University of Michigan to launch the Digital Connecting Corps. We will also be discussing EMU’s 60th Annual Alumni Awards. I’m Ronia Cabansag and this is The Eastern Echo Podcast. 

EMU has decided to publicly launch their biggest campaign fundraiser, “Give Rise.” The mission of this campaign is to support current next-generation students in having a successful education and excelling beyond the classroom. 

This campaign creates academic scholarships to help high-potential students who also qualify as high-need. The campaign recognizes specific programs in each of the different colleges on campus that they want to help strengthen throughout future years. 

This would provide merit and need-based scholarships for talented students that are enrolled in these programs, as well as provide support for faculty research to advance the knowledge for both staff and students. The campaign would also provide numerous opportunities for internships, community partnerships, and projects outside of the classroom. 

So far, $73 million has been donated out of the campaign's $100 million goal.

In other campus news, Eastern Michigan University's Engage@EMU office is collaborating with U-M’s Ginsberg Center to launch Digital Connecting Corps. The program is meant to help bridge the gap in the intergenerational digital divide in Washtenaw County by helping older adults learn technology skills.

Students at both universities will be given the opportunity to volunteer and teach smartphone and computer skills to older adults in the county.

Through one-on-one virtual training, these students will be able to help progress the knowledge of the internet in older adults. This program is currently working with three different senior centers: Milan Seniors for Healthy Living, Chelsea Senior Center, and Ypsilanti Senior Citizens Center. The original funding for this program came from the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation.

Here’s Engage Product Coordinator Julie Vogl.

Julie Vogl: Through this program, I was able to join the Reframing Aging workshops. It really teaches us how to talk about older adults and how to work and develop programs with older adults in mind. We talked about the momentum of older adults and using their energy and putting all these different things in place to not only work for them but work with them to develop programming and make it more person-centered.

Ronia Cabansag: Students who choose to work with this program will be given the title “tech coach” after they have completed their training. The training program is free to all participants, and laptops and computers are available if needed. 

In more university news, on Saturday, May 15, the "60th Annual Alumni Awards” was hosted by the EMU Alumni Association and premiered on the university’s YouTube channel.

Josh Landon, a FOX news anchor, and EMU alumnus served as master of ceremonies for the evening. 

Awardees are selected by the Awards, Scholarship, and Recognition Committee, which is made up of members of the board of directors for the EMU Alumni Association. Mia Milton, interim executive director of Alumni Relations and Engagement, said the following about why these awards are so important.

Mia Milton: We have alumni that are out here doing super-fantastic things and contributing invaluable ways to the community. That’s why [the awards] are so important because we need to let our alums know that we see them out here doing fantastic work.”

Ronia Cabansag: The first category, the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, is awarded to those who have been EMU graduates for less than 10 years and have shown the value of an EMU education through their post-college achievements.

The recipients of this award are Farah Harb (MBA12), global education analyst for Ford Motor Co. and Community Services, Zach Wigal (BBA16), founder of Gamers Outreach and the Gamers for Giving Fundraiser, and Jasmine A. Lee (BS09), director of Inclusive Excellence and Initiatives for Identity, Inclusion & Belonging at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).

Lee talked about her experience transferring to EMU after attending two other universities.

Jasmine A. Lee: I think it was the combination of all three experiences and finishing at Eastern, that’s what really made the biggest difference [in preparing Lee for her career]. The diversity, equity, and inclusion work I do for the Division of Student Affairs [at UMBC] is really directly connected to some of the work that I was doing in my undergrad at the Center for Multicultural Affairs [at EMU].

Ronia Cabansag: The second category, the Alumni Achievement Award, is for graduates of EMU for 10 to 25 years who have continued to maintain interest in EMU while also achieving distinction in their careers.

The recipients of this award are Kevin N. Alschuler, Ph.D. (MS06, PHD10), associate professor and attending psychologist at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Derrick R. Coleman (BS96, MA01), superintendent of the River Rouge School District, Christina (Tina) Miller (MS02), nutrition outreach manager for the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, and Chad Newton (BS97, MS11), chief executive officer for the Wayne County Airport Authority and regent on EMU’s board of regents.

The third category, the Distinguished Alumni Award, is awarded to graduates of EMU for more than 25 years who have continued to maintain interest in EMU, achieved exceptional distinction in their careers, and demonstrated excellent service to others.

The recipients of this award are Carrie J. Clark (BS89), director of the IT Project Management Office, IT Service Management, and EPIC Testing for the Henry Ford Health System, and Bynarozell (Byna) Elliott (BBA92), head of Advancing Black Pathways at J.P Morgan Chase and Company.

The final category, the Dr. John W. Porter Distinguished Service Award, is for individuals who are not necessarily graduates of EMU but have still made an amazing contribution to Eastern Michigan University or the EMU Alumni Association.

The recipients of this award are Gregory A. Peoples, emeritus dean of students and university ombudsman at EMU, and Bette Warren, emeritus associate vice president for academic programming at EMU.

If you are interested in watching the ceremony, the EMU Alumni Awards are available to view on the university’s YouTube channel

Reported: Cedrick Charles, Catherine Lietz, Quanzelle Wyatt

Script: Layla McMurtrie

Produced: Cameron Santangelo

Host: Ronia Cabansag