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Campus News

Middle Earth Students Win National Awards

by Greta Petry (December 10, 2004)

From left: Edward Hammit, chair, BACCHUS and GAMMA Board of Trustees, Sheng Wu, Christine Fan, Joseph Tuscano, Brianna Monzert, Catherine Lennon, Wendy Jamack, Jared Sint, Kali Morduant, Caitlin D'Aquisto, and Aliya Makki.

From left: Edward Hammit, chair, BACCHUS and GAMMA Board of Trustees, Sheng Wu, Christine Fan, Joseph Tuscano, Brianna Monzert, Catherine Lennon, Wendy Jamack, Jared Sint, Kali Morduant, Caitlin D'Aquisto, and Aliya Makki.

The University at Albany’s Middle Earth students swept the awards at the BACCHUS and GAMMA Peer Education Network National Conference held November 11-14 in Chicago, Ill. UAlbany won four awards and had two students from Middle Earth elected to national office at the conference.

The focus of the BACCHUS and GAMMA network lies primarily in the area of alcohol and other drug prevention at the college and university level. UAlbany was among 88 colleges and universities across the nation competing for the awards.

Vice President for Student Affairs James P. Doellefeld said, “Middle Earth’s wonderful work is again recognized for excellence at the national level. Middle Earth is a vibrant student organization that fills UAlbany with life.”

UAlbany students won the following awards at the conference:

  • Award for Excellence in Peer Education for a college or university of 12,000 or more students ($300 prize)

  • Outstanding Program – Dance-athon 2004 ($100 prize)

  • Outstanding School Exhibit – First Prize ($150 prize)

  • Outstanding Student – Christine Fan, a December 2004 UAlbany graduate

In addition, two UAlbany students, Mahaliel “J.R.” Bethea and Aliya Makki, each ran for office within the national organization and won election to the following:

  • Bethea (also president of UAlbany’s Student Association) was elected as a student trustee and has thus won one of two student Board of Trustee seats in the BACCHUS and GAMMA national organization.

  • Makki won election for regional representative for the states of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, as well as Canada.

M. Dolores Cimini, Ph.D., licensed psychologist and director of the Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program, said, “I am honored to have the privilege of working with the talented and dedicated students of the Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program. They are truly exceptional in their efforts to help and support their peers, and to communicate prevention messages both at UAlbany and beyond.”

UAlbany’s students went home from the conference with the largest number of awards, and have decided to donate all of their monetary prizes to the Kimberly E. Esterman Memorial Scholarship Fund. Funding for the students’ trip to the conference in Chicago was provided by the Dominion Foundation.