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Rivier University Community Leaders Recognized for Outstanding Public Service

Rivier community leaders Ezekiel Haradji, Natalia Guisao, and the Rivier University–Hunt Community partnership have been honored by Campus Compact for New Hampshire (CCNH) with 2020 Presidents’ Awards.

These awards are given in acknowledgment of those who devote their time and expertise to meeting critical community needs. CCNH, a statewide consortium of college and university presidents dedicated to advancing the civic purposes of higher education, presents Presidents’ Leadership Awards, Good Steward Awards, and Community Partner Awards annually to 21 New Hampshire campuses.

“This year’s award recipients embody Rivier’s mission of transforming hearts and minds to serve the world,” says Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, Rivier’s President. “Their contributions to campus service, service-learning, and civic engagement have a meaningful impact within our local community and beyond.”

Ezekiel Haradji, Class of 2022, received the Presidents’ Student Leadership Award. As a freshman, he initiated the Rivier Education Club, through which he established many service opportunities and programs for Rivier students. The following year, Haradji took over the Rivier-PAL mentoring program at Nashua PAL, which provides one-on-one mentoring to kids attending the after-school program. This year, he was named the first-ever Rivier Community Coordinator, responsible to provide support for the Nashua PAL–Rivier University partnership to thrive.

Natalia Guisao, Area Coordinator for Rivier’s Student Life and Housing Services and a Rivier alumna, received the Presidents’ Good Steward Award for her unique and far-reaching dedication to service. Guisao leads and facilitates opportunities for student service by providing transportation to community partners for volunteer hours, organizing student groups to serve at the Nashua Soup Kitchen each month, and at local blood drives. She also chairs Fresh Check Day, an annual event that promotes mental health care awareness and overall wellbeing, and recently co-led a service trip for Rivier students to volunteer at an orphanage in Colon, Panama.

CCNH recognized Rivier and the Hunt Community’s longstanding partnership with the Community Partner Award. Rivier students donate 300–400 hours of community service each semester by supporting Hunt Community residents with one-on-one companionship. One of their many activities includes the innovative Legacies Program. Students work with residents to record and write their life stories, which are published annually in a book for the Hunt Community.

This year’s award ceremony was celebrated virtually, given school closures and social distancing measures. “Although the event took on a different form this year, the foundation of what the awards represent stays the same. The fantastic work these students, staff, and faculty, and community partners do to enhance their communities. That is why I am delighted to celebrate these individuals from a distance and hopefully in person when we can safely be together,” says Debby Scire, Executive Director of CCNH.