The ninth annual Sammy Awards will be held on April 30 at 7 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Ballroom. The awards ceremony honors students and faculty for their achievements at SHSU.
The Office of Student Activities is in charge of planning the Sammy Awards, with the Sammy committee deciding the style and direction of the awards show and its categories.
Junior Brandon Cooper is the student coordinator of the committee, along with five associate coordinators and Student Activities Assistant Director Carlton Green.
Cooper said the awards show is SHSU’s way of showing appreciation to the hardworking students on campus.
“It’s a chance for the university to honor outstanding student leaders as well as student organizations,” Cooper said.
While most awards are aimed at students, the Sammy Awards also honors non-students at the university.
“The majority of the awards are for students and student organizations,” Cooper said. “However, there are awards recognizing outstanding faculty and staff.”
Students, faculty and staff can nominate the students and faculty they feel are most deserving of any award. Applicants must answer three questions concerning their candidates, such as why they are nominating the person, any accomplishments the candidate has been involved in, and why the candidate best exemplifies the school’s motto, “The measure of life is its service.”
Nominations are to be turned in to the Student Activities Office in Room 328 of the LSC. Students are free to nominate organizations whether of not they’re they are members. Friday at 5 p.m. is the deadline for sending in nominations.
Once the nominations are collected, a selection committee led by Green will choose which nominees will receive the award. Cooper said the process usually lasts a week, and that each category can receive numerous nominations.
“Usually 25 to 30 for just Outstanding First Year Student Leader alone,” Cooper said. “Adding up all the categories, the total number of nominations can be anywhere from 300 to 400 nominations.”
Applications for master of ceremonies and other talent at the show are also due Friday, though Cooper said students who show up for auditions without an application are also welcome. Tryouts will be March 5 and 6 from 3-4 p.m. in the LSC Theatre.
There will be 38 awards handed out this year, varying from individual and organizational awards, as well as the five newest awards aimed at student enthusiasm and publicity stunts meant to bring attention to events and organizations.
Cooper said that of all the awards handed out at the ceremony, the Sammys are the most exalted ones.
“The Sammy is the most prestigious university award and is presented to approximately 10 graduating students and five faculty/staff members for outstanding contributions and service to the university above and beyond the call of duty.”
Senior Tiffany Thomas is an associate coordinator who experienced working on the selection committee last year. She said making the decisions of who would win the awards was not difficult, but not extremely easy either.
“It would be 50-50,” Thomas said. “On one side there are a lot of individuals and organizations. It’s blanked out because you don’t know the people. For me it was simple because I was looking at the quality of the program and the purpose and the individual event they participated in.”
Thomas said now that she has worked on both the selecting and planning committees, she knows which committee she likes best.
“I prefer working on the planning side because it’s catered to the campus,” Thomas said. “We’re awarding them for their hard work and all the effort they put in.”
Prior to working on the Sammy committee, Thomas had experience planning other school events. Thomas sat as co-chair of the NAACP Fourth Annual Brotherhood and Sisterhood Conference and a co-coordinator of both the Student Activities Leadership Challenge and the Southwestern Black Leadership Conference.
Thomas said while she felt those programs were successful, working on the Sammy Awards is a step-up from her previous roles because it pertains to a much larger group of students.
“On a broader scale, this is for the entire campus, and I’m excited about that,” Thomas said.
Sophomore Candi Rivers is another associate coordinator working on the event. Rivers said she enjoys planning the awards show because it helps contradict some popular misconceptions most students have about student assistants in the Student Activities Office.
“Some students think that just because we’re student assistants that we don’t do anything but answer phones and make copies, but we event plan,” Rivers said.
The five newest awards added to the show are the Fun and Funky Fundraiser Award, the Party People Award, the Most Spirited Organization Award, the Crazy Community Service Award and the Publicity Plus Awards.
Rivers said the popular demand by students to award student enthusiasm in bringing attention to events is what triggered the awards to become a new staple of the show.
“It kind of just evolved by popular demand,” Rivers said. “Someone always does something crazy for publicity for their event, and they get a big turnout. And that’s something they should be rewarded for, and now we do that.”
Rivers said planning for the Sammy Awards began during the winter break, and will continue until just before the actual show. She said the long planning process helps makes the show more stylish, as the committee seeks to model the Sammy Awards after professional award shows.
“We try to simulate the actual celebrity awards you see on television; to make it as elegant and prestigious as possible,” Rivers said.
In the end, Cooper said the ultimate point of the show is to bring attention to those on campus who deserve it.
“It shines a spotlight on outstanding students for their dedication and hard work towards the university,” Cooper said. “Students are the essence of the university.”