The University of Alberta Students’ Union and Vice President (Academic) Marina Banister are pleased to congratulate Juanita Gnanapragasam, recipient of the 2016 Students’ Union Excellence Award.
Each year, the Students’ Union awards one undergraduate student with its highest honour for excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities. To qualify for this prestigious award, students must be in their graduating year, have attained a GPA of at least 3.5 in their 60 most recent credits, be involved in extracurricular activities at the university or in their community, and demonstrate an ability to work with other students, staff and the general public.
Juanita Gnanapragasam embodies the values of the Students’ Union and this award. Throughout her academic career at the University of Alberta, she has been involved in promoting a healthy and vibrant student culture at our institution while maintaining excellent grades.
She held an executive role with University of Alberta Compliments, a campus group devoted to spreading positivity and acceptance on campus through anonymous compliments and other initiatives. During her time with Compliments, she collaborated with University of Alberta International, St. Joseph’s College and the University of Alberta’s Community Social Work team to launch the “What Makes You Happy” campaign, which worked to improve student morale during midterms and final exams.
Gnanapragasam was also the lead investigator on a research project that examined how international students define healthy eating and what food-related barriers they face while living on campus. Her passion for health and sustainability has since led her to pursue a master’s degree in Public Health, and as a first-year graduate student, she is now working towards programming to help address the obstacles identified by her earlier research.
In recognition of her achievements, Gnanapragasam will receive a personalized trophy and a $2500 monetary prize. She will be recognized at the Students’ Union Awards Night on October 21, 2016, starting at 6:30 in the Dinwoodie Lounge.
The Students’ Union Awards recognize undergraduate students and student groups in a variety of areas, including involvement, achievement, and leadership. Every year, the Students’ Union Awards disburse more than $90,000 in prizes. The Students’ Union congratulates all the winners at this year’s awards ceremony.