URI security officer honored
for work on diversity issues
KINGSTON, R.I. -- June 22, 1999 -- As a child growing
up, University of Rhode Island Public Properties Officer Linda Palazzo's
mother always impressed upon her the idea of looking for the good in everyone.
It is advice that has shaped her life as she has dedicated herself to helping
others through her work on the URI campus and in the community.
Her service hasn't gone unrecognized. Palazzo,
of Coventry, was recently selected as the recipient of the Outstanding
Staff/Administrative Service to Student Organizations Award by the Multicultural
Center staff at URI in recognition of her hard work and devotion. The award
acknowledges and celebrates those who work with diverse and underrepresented
populations in the interests of building a more diverse campus community.
At the same time, Palazzo was also honored by the Rhode Island General Assembly
for her commitment to community service.
Palazzo has worked in the traffic department in
the URI Police Department for the past eleven years and is always trying
to make students lives easier.
"In this type of work, I can be two people.
I can enforce my job, but on the other side of the coin, I can also be helpful.
I think on this job we have the chance to do a lot of community service,
and to me, that is the best part," said Palazzo.
It is not unusual to see Palazzo preparing packets
of information for international students to make their adjustment to the
campus a little easier. She always carries bus and train schedules in her
briefcase just in case someone needs one. Last year, she felt parking on
the URI campus was difficult to understand so she created a color coded
parking map which was distributed to students. Palazzo often works at late
night student organization events. She does not simply provide security,
but rolls up her sleeves and can be found setting up tables and chairs or
helping with whatever else is needed.
"Officer Palazzo has always taken an extra
step to be a partner in the community. Her attitude towards her work and
service is the best I've seen in over 25 years of working in campus law
enforcement. I would like to have five more officers just like her; that's
how many it would take to replace her efforts," said Robert F. Drapeau,
director of the University's Police and Security Department.
Palazzo has worked with diversity issues on campus
and has served on the Diversity Task Force since its start in September
of 1998. According to Palazzo, URI has definitely started to make progress.
"Struggling with accepting diversity is a
nation-wide problem, but at least we have begun to take steps in the right
direction. I have seen changes during my eleven years here. Openness and
communication is much better and is constantly improving," she explained.
Palazzo dedicates a great deal of her time to the
youth of Rhode Island. When she was twelve, she became a member of the International
Organization of Rainbow Girls, a formal organization of girls who learn
about community service, leadership, and respect for their country. Since
then, she has remained dedicated to the group and is currently the Rhode
Island Rainbow Girls' Senior Grand Deputy, chairwoman of the Grand Assembly,
and chairwoman of the State Registration. In the past, she has been advisor
of the organization's annual charity ball. She has served as House Mother,
in which she has taken girls who have lost their mother under her wing,
caring and befriending them. In 1985 she was awarded the Grand Cross of
Color, which is the highest award the Rainbow Girls bestows.
"It is a lot of work and can be very tough,
but above all, it is rewarding," said the 47-year-old mother of two
and grandmother of 2.
In the past, Palazzo spent a great deal of time
in local schools encouraging students to be drug free. She traveled to different
high schools as part of the Youth to Youth program, and helped with fund-raising
for the Coventry DARE program. For her work with youth, she received the
"Hats Off" award from the International Order of Demolay Boys.
Palazzo just sees her work with others as part
of her everyday job. She said she is always humbled by the recognition she
"People always think I go above and beyond
my job requirements. But, it's just me. I don't see it as anything extraordinary.
It is just my way to help others," she explained.
For More Information: Jan Sawyer, 401-874-2116