Pictured above: the 2015- 16 Citizenship Award for Diversity Leadership recipient, Zaire Sprowal.
Each year the President’s Community Advisory Committee on Diversity presents a Mary Washington student with the Citizenship Award for Diversity Leadership. This award is given to a rising senior enrolled in the University, who possesses strong characteristics of leadership and demonstrates a personal commitment – advocating for diversity and inclusion across campus. Once the recipient is chosen he or she serves as an ambassador for diversity, a peer mentor to underrepresented students, and a voice for underrepresented populations to the faculty and staff.
To apply for the Citizenship Award for Diversity presented annually during the Diversity Program, which is part of Orientation Week, a student must complete the application as well as submit one (1) faculty or staff recommendation. Faculty and Staff may nominate students for this award as well.
Once chosen as the recipient of the Citizenship Award for Diversity Leadership, the recipient will be asked to serve in various capacities throughout the 2015- 16 academic year. The on-going service agenda will be mutually beneficial, service will be provided to the campus community, and the student will continue to develop academically and socially.
Zaire Sprowal is a senior attending the University of Mary Washington from Richmond, Virginia. A physics major who plans to pursue a doctoral degree as a nuclear physicist, Zaire also strives to be an active participant in organizations and initiatives focusing on civic engagement, multicultural education and social justice activism.
He is also currently the vice president of the Framar International Living Community and serves as the chair of the Student Government Association’s Diversity and Unity Coordinating Committee, both for the 2015 -16 year. He also served as the secretary of the Student Government Association’s Executive Cabinet and has held a voting position on that organization’s finance committee since 2014. As a student Zaire also participated in sports and was a member of the UMW varsity crew team from 2012 to 2014.
Zaire’s avid interest in the humanities led him to participate in a summer study abroad experience in an indigenous Amerindian village in Guyana with UMW sociology and anthropology professor, Dr. Laura Mentore. Zaire credits the experience of living with the Makushi Indians of southern Guyana with further developing his interpersonal skills and expanding his understanding of what constitutes an effective leader and effective leadership. During that experience Zaire adopted a decidedly different outlook on the nature of leadership, an outlook that underscores the value of leading by example.
Zaire has demonstrated his leadership philosophy by serving as an active participant and panel member for diversity forums and dialogues such as the Black Lives Matter vigil, the Victims of Violence Memorial event as well as taking part in a listening circle focusing on the negative impact that social media forums can have on UMW’s campus community. In addition, he has participated in PRISM’s (People for the Rights of Individuals of Sexual Minorities) annual Day of Silence event.
Zaire appreciates being the recipient of the 2015 -16 Citizenship Award for Diversity Leadership and views the award as an opportunity to continue using the leadership and civic engagement skills he has developed during his tenure at UMW to precipitate positive change throughout the UMW campus community.