On the topic of recognition

I’ve spent the better part of the semester working with an incredible team of students to plan the annual Emerson Recognition and Achievement (ERA) Awards. It’s what you would expect for a college leadership banquet.

2014 ERA Awards

Fancy reception for outgoing leaders and advisors.
Fancier dinner at a fancy hotel.
Sound and lights.
Really outstanding sound and lights.
Really outstanding performances.
More clapping.

It’s a lot of work for a community that *NEEDS* recognition. Our students need every award, every bit of recognition. Most are volunteers. Most are building their careers. An award today gives them something to add to a resume, something to help get their foot into a door for an internship or job. They need it. They deserve it.

Meanwhile, the student affairs twitter community (#sachat) has been planning their own awards ceremony, The #SAChat Awards – a homegrown, community nominated affair.

For whatever reason, the thought of these awards have brought the ire of many people, mostly those who were nominated. And I’ve been thinking about why there is the angst about it and this weekend, it dawned on me.

We have recognition and awards ceremonies for people who NEED it. The pros that were nominated for #sachat awards don’t need it. They don’t need the validation. They don’t need the resume padding (I still have Nominee Funniest #SAchat Tweeter 2013 on my resume). They’re not looking for the next big job. They don’t care.

But there are people who want it. There are people who need it.
The student affairs community seems to have rallied around the concept of StrengthsQuest – an online assessment that measures your top talents.

We’ve forgotten that one of the talents is significance. There are people who need to be recognized, who thrive off of communities where they are recognized. They yearn to achieve and have a lot of drive to reach their goals. They’re also the people who understand the significance others hold. They want to inspire others to reach their own significance.

By mocking the #sachat awards, we’re denying someone’s talent, someone’s strength. We’re mocking community builders who are trying to do something nice for a community they love.

Let the awards stand. I’m not saying that everyone deserves some recognition, but what’s so wrong with giving recognition to people who need it?

On the topic of recognition

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