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Ambassadors Student Group Receives International Recognition

For the thirteenth year, the IUP Ambassadors, an Indiana University of Pennsylvania student group that helps the Alumni Association with events, was honored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education Affiliated Student Advancement Programs (CASE-ASAP).

CASE is a national professional organization for advancement professionals at all levels who work in alumni relations, communications, fundraising, marketing, and other areas.

The IUP group’s advisor, Sara Barnett Lawer, assistant director of the Office of Alumni Relations, received international and district recognition as Most Outstanding Advisor. This honor recognizes an advisor’s impact on individual memberships, development and growth of the organization, as well as outstanding dedication to the organization, university, and the student advancement profession, CASE officials said.

“I am honored that the students would think so highly of me, not only to submit this nomination at the district level (mid-Atlantic region), but also at the international level,” Lawer said. “I tell the Ambassadors all the time that they make my job easy! I would not be an outstanding advisor without their energy, passion, and IUP pride.”

Forty-three schools in District II and 293 internationally are eligible to compete for these awards.

The intention of the awards is to recognize the outstanding achievements of students, organizations, programs, and advisors; highlight exemplary programs; further the mission of the CASE-ASAP; and facilitate the sharing of ideas.

Through its fundraising initiatives, the group has donated more than $101,000 to the university over its sixteen-year history. This has included funds to name the IUP Ambassadors classroom in the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex, the IUP library fund, and the IUP Ambassadors Scholarship.

The Ambassadors’ fifty student members serve as liaisons among prospective students, current students, administrators, faculty members, alumni, and friends of the university.

Group members are active participants in Homecoming activities and Alumni Reunion Weekend and host many other activities on campus for a variety of administrative offices, including the Office of the President.

Members of the association are active in admissions recruitment efforts, calling more than fifteen thousand students accepted to IUP since 1994 and assisting with orientation events throughout the year. The group also organizes the Kidz Karnival at Homecoming, distributes a freshman yearbook, and organizes a senior recognition event.

The 2009 awards for Most Outstanding Advisor bring the number of awards to fourteen at the district level and eight at the international level. Other awards include the following:

  • Most Outstanding Organization, international level: 1998, 2001, 2006. Most Outstanding Organization, district level: 1994, 1997, 2000. The 2006 international award was due to the group’s recruitment efforts with underrepresented groups within the university’s student population. Ambassadors went through extensive training on minority recruitment to ensure the membership of the group was representative of the constituencies it serves.
  • Most Outstanding Advisor, international level: Matt Konetschni, 1998; Tonya Anthony, 2002; Mary Morgan, 2003. Most Outstanding Advisor, district level: Matt Konetschni, 1997; Mary Morgan, 2000 and 2002; Tonya Anthony, 2001; Amanda Gunther, 2006
  • Most Outstanding Program, international level: tuition raffle, 2000. Most Outstanding Program, district level: tuition raffle, 1999, 2005. The tuition raffle fundraiser offers a free semester of tuition to one student annually. More than $32,000 in total tuition funds and $2,700 in textbook credit have been given out through the tuition raffle.
  • Most Outstanding Program, district level: The Breeze alumni newsletter, 2007
  • Most Outstanding Newsletter, district level: The Breeze, 2004
  • Spirit Award, district level, 2002