Leading by Example

Multicultural Unity and Student Involvement Council (M.U.S.I.C.), 2017 A. Robert Rainville Team for Excellence Award recipients.

There’s no shortage of student leaders at URI.

More than 200 students and student groups vied for four A. Robert Rainville Leadership Awards—the largest number of nominee-applicants in the history of the competition, which has been bestowing the awards since 1989.

The Multicultural Unity and Student Involvement Council (M.U.S.I.C.) received the A. Robert Rainville Team for Excellence Award for its work to educate college students about issues of racial and ethnic diversity in higher education. M.U.S.I.C was one of five finalists for the award, chosen from a field of more than 40 campus groups.

M.U.S.I.C. represents the student organizations affiliated with the University’s Multicultural Student Services Center. For the past three years, M.U.S.I.C has held a student-run annual conference, “Diversifying Individuals Via Education” (DIVE RI) that has attracted college students from the northeast; inspired students at Boston University to start their own student-led diversity conference, BUNITED; and prompted URI to offer field experience credit to students who work on the conference.

“Everything we do is of the students by the students and for students,” said Temidayo Akinjisola ’17, a political science and supply chain management major, who co-founded the conference with four upperclassmen. In its first year, the conference hosted more than 200 attendees from across the northeast. “Three years later, I’m the last line of defense,” Akinjisola said. “It’s been really cool. I’ve developed real-life, transferable skills and provided a service to URI.”

The Rainville Awards also honor individual student leaders in three categories: servant leadership, student leadership, and student employee.

Individual award recipients are as follows:

Servant Leadership: Samuel Klemarczyk ’17, a communications studies major with a minor in leadership studies

Robert L. Carothers Student Leadership: Mariam Temitayo Odetunde ’17, an honors program student with a general business administration major

Student Employee: Shade Olowookere ’17, a health studies major with a minor in business

Named for the late A. Robert Rainville, the University’s vice president for student affairs from 1980 to 1986, the awards recognize, encourage, and celebrate students’ leadership in the campus community.

“Each year, the members of the four distinct selection committees are in awe of the level of talent and dedication we see in the students nominated by members of the URI community,” said Melissa Boyd-Colvin ’98, M.S. ’03, assistant director, student leadership, in the Center for Student Leadership Development.

Students, faculty, and staff nominate students, who then must complete an application to advance in the process. Applicants are forwarded to a selection committee that makes the final decision. Of the largest applicant pool in the program’s history, Boyd-Colvin said, “Our award recipients are truly exceptional scholars, leaders, and representatives of the university.”