Tricolour award winners announced

Five to be honoured with highest tribute given to students 

Journal File Photo
On Monday Jan. 30, the five students to receive the Tricolour award were announced. 
The Agnes Benidickson Tricolour award and induction into the Tricolour society is the highest tribute that can be paid to a student throughout their time at Queen’s.
A minimum of two students must nominate another student in order for it to be valid. A student can’t nominate themselves. There were 18 nominations this year from which a selection committee chose five individuals to receive the award.
The award goes to students who have serviced the University in non-athletic, extra-curricular activities.
Tara McDonald, ArtSci ’17
“When I read my nomination package, which included letters of support from peers, alumni, staff, and instructors, the main thing that was emphasized was my commitment to working towards equity and social justice on campus,” McDonald said.
McDonald spoke to how she advocated for social justice throughout her time here at Queen’s.
She founded many projects including Elephant in the Room Anti-Stigma campaign for mental health as well as Queen’s Equity Conference.
“I also helped to draft an Anti-Racism Strategic Plan for a faculty society, collaborated on Equitable Queen’s lending library system, and facilitated truth and reconciliation community consultations at the faculty society level,” McDonald said. 
McDonald explained that she was reminded of how important her work was when she read the letters of support from the people who rallied around her. 
“It is easy to get discouraged and feel like there is no use in trying to fight systems of oppression, but always remember that there is so much support surrounding you.”
McDonald discussed that she is most likely taking a year off after she graduates. 
“Having a Queen’s education is an incredible privilege and I hope that I can use what this campus has taught me to help other people in the future.”
Mike Blair, Eng ’17
Blair has held leadership positions with Queen’s First Aid Campus (QFA) Response Team, the Alma Mater Society, and the University as the 175th Anniversary Coordinator.

“I made a point out of first year to pursue roles that would afford me the opportunity to contribute to the Queen’s community in unique ways,” Blair said. 
Blair explained that after joining QFA in first year, he began to see more opportunities where he could get involved. 
“I am so deeply honoured to have been invested to the Tricolour Society. It is humbling to be recognized by my peers for my service, and I hope that my story can motivate others to give back to our community in a way that is uniquely their own,” Blair said. 
Next year Blair will be returning to finish his degree, help with QFA and serve a one-year term on the AMS Board of Directors. 
Claire Gummo, ArtSci ’16
Gummo has become a leader in the conversation of sexual violence and prevention on Queen’s campus throughout her time here. She spent time with the SHRC as both an executive and volunteer. 
“I’ve served as a student representative on three senior administration committees, developing Queen’s first sexual violence policy,” Gummo said. 
As well, in 2016 Gummo began Queen’s Bystander Intervention Program which has reached over 2,000 students this school year. 
“This award means the world to me. I was surprised and humbled to learn that I was nominated. I share it with my amazing team, colleagues and peers at the AMS, Bystander, the SHRC, and Student Affairs.”
Gummo hopes to continue to work with Queen’s long after her time has ended.
Mike Young, ArtSci ’16
“I don’t think there are any accomplishments the committee will cite in their decision that are my accomplishments alone,” Young said. 
Young explained that no matter what capacity he was working in, he was always striving to make Queen’s campus more “compassionate and empathetic” when it came to mental health, gender/sexual diversity, sexual violence, and anti-oppression. 
This was especially important in Young’s time at Queen’s, serving  a two-year term as the University’s 34th Rector.
“Being named a recipient further solidifies my belief that I’ve been surrounded with inspiring and exceptional human beings and leaders consistently during my time here.”
Young explained that the award belonged to more than just himself, but the people around him who he’s learned from and grown with. 
“This award is an incredibly humbling reminder that the work helps people and makes lives better in some way,” Young said. 
Lauren Winkler, ArtSci ’17 
This year, Winkler was President of the Queen’s Native Student Association as well as Deputy Commissioner of Indigenous Affairs under the Social Issues Commission. 
“In these roles I act as an Indigenous student voice on various committees such as the TRC Task Force, the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response working group, and Aboriginal Council of Queen’s University,” Winkler said. 
Winkler also spoke to how she focuses on creating visibility and educating Queen’s staff, faculty, and students on Indigenous history, culture and current affairs. 
“I have worked very hard this year to work toward creating a more inclusive campus for Indigenous students and have worked on multiple projects that I feel very passionate about.”
Winkler hopes that her work will help raise awareness for the opportunities that Indigenous students have on Queen’s campus and inspire them to get involved. 

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