The 24th annual Student Senate and Social Equity Awards dinner and ceremony honored five recipients Wednesday, Nov. 14.
- Professor Jamie Phillips, Ph.D., as Outstanding Supporter
- Todd Spaulding, assistant director of residence life, as Outstanding Employee
- Nicole Maxson as Outstanding Student
- CU Serve with the Special Group Award
- Kelly Ryan, assistant director of leadership and involvement, with the Presidential Award
The event also featured guest speakers Valentine James, Ph.D., and Ning Chen, Ph.D. The theme for the evening was Around the World in 80 Minutes.
James, originally from Nigeria, spoke on the importance of Africa in the classroom. "Africa is so instructive," he said.
James is an instructor of geography in the biology and geosciences department.
He and his wife often take students to their house where they can see relics, artwork and clothing from around the world, including Africa.
"We are not trying to turn our home into a museum, but I feel it's getting there," James quipped.
James spoke of students becoming good global citizens.
"Scholars don't just teach but are ambassadors of wherever we come from," James said.
Chen spoke on the differences in culture, which is more than just food and clothes, but also values, norms, beliefs, behaviors and commonalities.
Chen is a professor in the management and marketing department.
Chen, who is from China, said when she was Ph.D. student she kept saying 'we' when defending her ideas. In China, where the Communist Party has control, people speak in 'we' terms, but in the United States individuality is encouraged.
She said when she returned to China for a visit, people were turned off by her expression of individuality by saying 'I.'
Chen was asked, "Who do you think you are?" for expressing herself in this way.
Another main cultural difference between students in the United States and China is that Americans are taught to take risks, but in China safety is a high priority. Often because of this, there are fewer entrepreneurs in China because it is seen as safer to work for the government rather than branch out on one's own.
Chen contends that these cultural differences can lead to misunderstandings, but she still has hope.
"My basic assumption is that people are nice."