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By Nicole Wong

The Office of Campus Organizations hosted the 36th annual Anteater Awards last Wednesday night in the Crystal Cove Auditorium. 20 awards were given to UCI campus organizations, with top awards going to the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).

The Anteater Awards began in 1980 under the name Student Organization Recognition Night. Then, UC Irvine only had about 200 registered organizations, a number which has since tripled.

“It’s nice to come back and see it grow from a few organizations that we used to have when I was a student here, to now over 600 of them,” said Vice Chancellor Thomas A. Parham, who attended UCI from 1975 to 1977, during a short speech at the beginning of the event.

Vice Chancellor Parham also stressed the importance of campus organizations.

“Probably 30, 40, maybe 50 percent of what you will learn in your college career, you will learn outside of the four walls of the classroom in what we call co-curricular ways,” said Parham. “These co-curricular learning opportunities are a chance to get involved, to engage with fellow students as peers, to engage with faculty, to engage with staff and administration on a whole range of things that are important to you … If there’s one time a year where we get a chance to come together and celebrate the achievements of these student organizations, it ought to be tonight.”

IRAP received the most awards, winning Most Outstanding International Organization and Most Outstanding Graduate Organization. IRAP’s president, Alexis Federico, won President of the Year.

Chinese Association at UCI (CAUCI) took home Most Outstanding Multicultural Organization and Anteater’s Choice, a new award this year and the last one of the night.

SHPE was also presented with two awards: Most Outstanding Special Interest Organization and Student Organization of the Year.

“It has been the first time in the history of SHPE UCI to win an award at the event. Winning the award reflected that our hard work, dedication and passion for the organization had paid off,” said SHPE President Mersy Maradiaga. “Overall it has been a successful year. We feel fulfilled knowing that we won two awards at the ceremony. It is a great accomplishment that allows us to showcase all the great things that SHPE does for the community. We strongly believe in creating the next leaders of the country that will make a difference in the stem fields.”

Tennis Club at UCI was awarded Most Outstanding Service Organization.

“It makes us proud to just be nominated,” said Tennis Club Treasurer Christian Angeles. “But winning was satisfying, because our efforts to make a great club are being acknowledged. I would just like to dedicate the award to all of our members, for we would be nowhere without their continued support and undying love to hit fuzzy, green balls.”

The event also included performances from student musical group Jodaiko and student singer Ellen Shieh, who performed renditions of “Dangerous Woman” and “I Have Nothing.” Shieh’s performance of the latter earned her the Overall Winner and People’s Choice awards at Soulstice earlier this year.

The rest of the winners are as follows:

Most Outstanding Performance Organization: Bare Bones Dance Theater

Most Outstanding Academic Organization: Biological Sciences Student Council (BSC)

Cross Cultural Center Legacy Award: Caroline Truong

Cross Cultural Center Praxis Award: Latina/o Student Psychological Association

Cross Cultural Center Faculty/Staff of the Year: Tory Doolin

Most Outstanding Religious Organization: Muslim Student Union (MSU)

Most Outstanding Service Organization: International Medical Education and Development (IMED)

Most Outstanding Greek Organization: Kappa Alpha Theta

Most Outstanding Social/Support Organization: No Strings Attached

Advisor of the Year: Dr. Mandy Mount (Right to Know Peer Educators)

Member of the Year: Yuder Shin Shin Tsai (Improv Revolution)

Best New Student Organization: Against All O.D.D.S. (Orphan Disease Defender Society)

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