The Shirley Bird Perry Staff-Driven Program of the Year recognizes an innovative and impactful program implemented primarily by staff on campus. For their contributions to student learning and advancing campus community through programming excellence, the institution will receive up to $1,000 towards ACUI membership dues to continue to be a leader in the profession.

2021 Recipient
When the pandemic threatened to change the close knit community at the University of Minnesota–Morris, the student activities and conferences and events staff developed #MorrisMission. This campaign encouraged students to engage with each other and the campus through social media, increased the amount of video content on campus social media, and offered an opportunity to highlight faculty and staff in a new way than what students were used to seeing. Each week, a social media challenge was issued, a panel of judges selected a winning entry, and winners from the previous week were announced. Weekly challenges included most outlandish display of school spirit and recreating then photographing a notable piece of artwork using laundry.
Past Recipients

The Staff-Driven Program of the Year was named in honor of Shirley Bird Perry in 2015

  • 2020: Gobblerfest – Virginia Tech
  • 2019: Student Engagement Response Team – University of Colorado–Boulder
  • 2018: LBJ Student Center's Hogwarts' Halloween – Texas State University
  • 2017: Bearcat Recognition Initiatives – Binghamton University
  • 2016: Identities@Eastman – Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester
  • 2015: My FSU Experience Campaign – Florida State University
  • 2014: Social Media & Digital Identity Workshops – Virginia Tech
  • 2013: The Power of Words – University of Colorado
  • 2012: Color Me NKU – Northern Kentucky University
  • 2011: First 30 Days Program – The Ohio State University
  • 2010: ACUI Region 1 Mentoring Program – Central Connecticut State University
  • 2008: Geneseo Late Knight – SUNY–Geneseo


The review process includes, but is not limited to, an assessment of the criteria listed below. Due to the wide variety of programs that can be considered, a program does not need to meet every criterion. The program must:

  • Demonstrate excellence in campus programming.
  • Demonstrate the use of practices that exemplify outstanding creativity or introduce new approaches beyond what is standard.
  • Achieve its stated intended outcomes.


All ACUI member institutions are eligible to apply for this award. For collaborative initiatives or partnerships, all institutions must be ACUI members. Eligible programs must:

  • Have taken place since the beginning of the previous academic year.
  • Serve as a model to other campuses for replication.
  • Achieve its stated program outcomes and objectives, with evaluation tools in place.
  • Agree to allow a summary of their accomplishments to be published.


Submission materials must include the following:

  1. Name, institution, and contact information of the primary contact for the program.
  2. Title of the program.
  3. A summary, up to two pages, of the program, addressing:
    • Description of the program, including goals and intended outcomes.
    • Description and inclusion of the evaluation methods in place for the program, including brief rationale for choosing stated methods.
    • Evidence that the program meets the criteria identified for this specific award.
  4. And one compiled packet of additional supporting documentation for the program, which could include photos, marketing samples, course materials, budget information, testimonials, etc. No page limit exists, but only the first 15 pages will be considered by the review committee.

The application process for this award will open in October 2021.

About Shirley Bird Perry

Shirley Bird Perry served as the first woman president of ACUI in 1972, but as important was her legacy at the University Union at the University of Texas–Austin. According to a plaque in the Shirley Bird Perry Ballroom at the University Union, “In the 80-year existence of a student union at the University of Texas–Austin, no name looms larger than that of Shirley Bird Perry. From her involvement as an undergraduate student through her service as director of the Texas Union, no single individual has had as much of an impact on the college union movement on our campus as did Shirley Bird.”

Perry’s list of “firsts” within the Association is impressive. She became the Association’s first educational program coordinator in 1976, a role that many future leaders would hold after her. She also was the first woman Butts-Whiting Award recipient in 1976. But Perry is perhaps best remembered for the spirit of innovation and advancement with which she led on campus and in the Association. She was known for rewarding creativity and new ideas and in holding people accountable to their commitments.


Shirley Bird Perry


Electronic notification will be sent to confirm submissions have been received. A confidential Campus Awards Committee, appointed annually by the ACUI president, will review materials to make the selection. One recipient will be chosen, unless otherwise noted for the specific award. One physical award will be given to the recipient, who will be recognized during the awards ceremony at the annual conference and in subsequent publications.