UCI Clubs Get Zots

Sofia Panuelos/New University

UC Irvine students, staff and faculty dressed to impress in cocktail attire at the annual Anteater Awards on May 18 at 7 p.m. in SSLH 100. This year’s event was sponsored by the Campus Organizations Resources and Education center (CORE), UCI Hospitality and Dining Services, School First Federal Credit Union and the Student Center and Events Services.

Delta Gamma sorority, the Indian Sub-Continental Club (ISC), MatSci at UCI and Mock Trial all received two awards. Terri Clark of Delta Gamma was awarded the Advisor of the Year, student Chris Stevenson of Government of Undergraduate Student Housing at UCI awarded Member of the Year and Nithin Jilla from “Ken-Ya Dream” was awarded the President of the Year.

Beta Theta Pi was awarded Most Outstanding Greek Organization, while Olive Tree Initiative, International Justice Mission at UCI, Circle K International, and Incite Magazine were among many campus organizations who also garnered awards.

As about 100 guests arrived from a variety of clubs, groups, organizations and affiliations, the air was filled with anxiety and excitement as the time approached for the nominations and winners to be announced.

“The turnout was great and everybody had a really nice time,” CORE Consultant Natasha Zubair said. “Everyone was so dressed up and it felt like they truly wanted to be here.”

Refreshments were served before doors opened around 7:30 p.m. There was a photo booth area with a photographer standing by. The atmosphere presented a true red carpet affair contributing to the overall experience of the attendees.

“The event was formal in the sense that we were all wearing cocktail attire but at the same time, the vibe was very casual,” CORE consultant Mazamir Yousefi said. “It was really awesome how everyone would cheer for their own clubs. Everything just went so smoothly and there was nothing to worry about and we were able to have fun up there.”

Sherwynn Umali, director of Campus Organizations, and Dr. Rameen Talesh, the assistant vice chancellor of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, opened the awards ceremony by describing how UCI has over 550 different organizations on campus and the difficult and vigorous process of nominating and choosing the winners out of all of the interested applicants.

CORE consultants served as the Masters of Ceremonies for the evening each introducing the judges and presenters of each of the 30 award categories. There were 77 organizations nominated in all categories and most of the categories had three final nominees and one ultimate winner.

As each presenter on stage opened the envelope containing the winner from the nominated organizations, the audience anxiously awaited the results but as the presenter read the accomplishments of each group or person, the audience discovered who the winners were before the names were revealed.

“We might have to rewrite the awards a little bit to make it more of a surprise. I thought it was funnier this year and we pulled it off,” Umali said. “I think it would be more [exciting] if we read the winners first instead of describing them first.”

Three performances during the evening helped to set the pace. An elaborate dance routine performed by Modern Completely Insane Anteaters (MCIA) started the ceremony. Uncultivated Rabbits Nghiem Le and Brandon Malendez followed with a performance of “Mirrors” and “Ashes.” Lastly, there were two solo performances from the Belly Danceaters at UCI.

The Anteater Awards has been an annual event since the 1980s at UCI. Once called Club Recognition Night, it had been an exclusive event where only a few members from each nominated group were invited. Now it is a larger affair where anyone can celebrate any organization and attend every spring quarter. The entire process was a yearlong commitment for the CORE office and its consultants.

“There are just so few events that are campus-wide events that honor students and their peers that are student run like this … honoring all 556 registered campus organizations and the work that they do,” Umali said. “I think it’s awesome that the CORE consultant students who are students like everyone else are able to put on something like this celebrating the work that [UCI students] do all year.”