2022 Nominations are now closed. We are looking forward to honoring recipients November 10-12 at the Regional Conference.

Inclusivity Initiative/Program Award


This award recognizes Region III institution that is advancing campus community through a campus-sponsored program that has a positive impact on campus and beyond and that fosters a campus environment that values diversity and fosters inclusivity for all. These programs should focus on supporting underrepresented/served communities on campus and in society and/or educating the rest of the campus community about inclusivity issues.

Past Recipients
  • 2019 Recipient: University of South Florida–St. Petersburg for “Wednesdays in the O”
New Professional Award

This award includes a $500 scholarship for professional development. The New Professional Award is given to a new professional within Region III who has demonstrated a strong commitment to the profession and Region III. Recipients of this award are active in their campus community and in ACUI initiatives. The recipient must be a staff member of an ACUI member institution and should meet the following criteria: 

  • Has been in the field at least two years but no more than five   
  • Has demonstrated commitment to the college union and student activities through institutional involvement
  • Has demonstrated commitment to ACUI through regional and/or Association-wide involvement

Past Recipients
  • 2022 Recipient: Erik Johnson, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • 2020 Recipient: Darien Garrison, University of Alabama–Birmingham
  • 2019 Recipient: Brent Sutphin, University of Southern Mississippi
Outstanding Advisor-Mentor Award
The Outstanding Advisor-Mentor award was created to recognize significant leadership, volunteer service, and commitment to student development or the development of new professionals. This new award recognizes a professional staff member who has served as a mentor to new staff, students, and emerging young professionals in the college union and student affairs field.
Past Recipients
  • 2022 Recipient: Emily Eisenstadt, Davidson College
  • 2021 Recipient: Shane Farmer, Clemson University
  • 2020 Recipient: Anthony Carinci, University of South Florida–St. Petersburg
  • 2019 Recipient: Jessica Inman, University of Florida
Outstanding Undergraduate Student Leader Award
This award is given to an outstanding undergraduate student at a member institution of Region III who has shown dedicated work ethic in the student union/student activities field. The nominated individual will have demonstrated significant contributions to their home campus and have served as a role model for fellow peers and students in addition to exemplifying the core values of the Association in their work and studies.
Past Recipients
  • 2022 Recipient: Brooklyn Barnes, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
  • 2021 Recipient: Ben Helms, Western Carolina University
  • 2020 Recipient: KenAndre Smiley, University of South Alabama
  • 2019 Recipient: Craig Messina, North Carolina State University
Outstanding Volunteer Award
The Outstanding Volunteer Award will be presented to a member of Region III who has demonstrated exceptional commitment and success in their volunteer role or roles within the Association during the previous 12 months. Any individual employed by an ACUI member institution is eligible for the award. The individual must also have performed at least one non-Leadership Team role in the last 12 months (e.g., Conference Program Team member, community of practice leader, volunteer at the annual conference, etc.).

Past Recipients
  • 2022 Recipient: Darien Garrison, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • 2021 Recipient: Jennifer Duncan, Agnes Scott College
  • 2020 Recipient: Emily Reynolds, East Carolina University
  • 2019 Recipient: Chris Adrian, Coastal Carolina University
Smith-Steele Award for Professional Staff


The purpose of the award is to recognize union and student activities professionals of Region III member institutions who have demonstrated a long-term commitment to the profession, Region III, ACUI, and their campus community. The nominee must be a staff member of an active ACUI member institution and have been in the profession for a minimum of 10 years.


The recipient will receive a $500 monetary award. The Smith-Steele Award for Professional Staff is named for two individuals who have dedicated their lives to the profession: C. Shaw Smith and Richard Steele. Smith served as the first union director for Davidson College for more than 30 years, the Region 5 coordinator twice, and as the ACUI national director. Steele served Region 6 as a member of the Regional Leadership Team, as a regional director, and as an ACUI president. 



Past Recipients
  • 2022 Recipient: Dean Smith, East Carolina University
  • 2021 Recipient: Dwayne Isaacs, University of South Florida–St. Petersburg
  • 2020 Recipient: James Contratto, University of South Alabama
  • 2019 Recipient: Alison Ward, University of Tennessee–Knoxville






Student Union/Campus Activities Program of the Year
This award recognizes any program that fosters the enhancement of the campus community or furthers the development of students. The application for this award must include a summary of the program (with program title and description), intended learning outcomes, and evidence of goals achieved. Supporting documentation (photos, video, marketing samples) may also be provided.
Past Recipients
  • 2021 Recipient: U-NITES! Programs, Clemson University
  • 2020 Recipient: Appalachian State University for Engagement, Interrupted Podcast
  • 2019 Recipient: University of South Carolina, Thursdays After Dark