Matthew Salzano ’18

Throughout their primary education, students get a lot of participation awards— a certificate on simple printer paper (perhaps cardstock, if it was in the copy room), created in Microsoft Publisher, made official by a digitized signature. The awards commended “being there,” and a job that was… finished.

These are not those awards. These are hard-earned, well-deserved awards for Pacific Lutheran University scholar-activists, celebrating exceptional service and not just a completed task.

“We wish that we had more awards and scholarships to offer because so many PLU students go above and beyond in engaging our local community,” said Center for Community Engagement and Service Director Joel Zylstra. “Awards and scholarships are a small but important way to say, ‘Thank you. Keep up the good work, and never forget that your education is about something bigger than just you.’”

Lutes are known for their social awareness—have you read that mission statement?—and some are so driven, capable and aware that their name ends up on a far better-designed piece of paper than the ones received in elementary school.

Here’s a list of service awards and scholarships available to Lutes.

David T. Alger Award

This $500 award honoring Pierce County and Pacific Lutheran community activist Reverend Alger is given to one student and one faculty/staff member who:

actively provide long-term commitment to community service;
serves as passionate leaders for the good of the community and empower others; and
strategically network community members.

Ron Pierre Vignec Community Partner Award

This award is given to an individual (or organization) that exemplifies commitments to serving marginalized people, especially through challenging and/or educating the public. It honors “Pastor Ron,” whose legacy is known in two words: “Pay attention.” He was known as an advocate for the less fortunate through his attention to individuals and his work to fight unjust systems.

Fay M. Anderson-Van Beek Scholarship for Community/Volunteer Service

Three $1,000 awards are given to outstanding student volunteers with at least a 3.0 GPA.

Fossness Memorial Leadership Award

One sophomore Christian from Washington state who exceptionally serves his or her community through leadership in school, community and/or church receives this $1,000 scholarship (it is renewable, with an application).

Gladys Mortvedt Voluntary Service Award

For the quiet volunteers who expect no recognition or compensation, there’s this $400 award.

Learning is Forever (L.I.F.E.) Community Service Scholarship

A $250 award for students who show commitment to and awareness of the co-curricular nature of community engagement.

Nominees are submitted in short essays and are selected by a committee including PLU staff, faculty, students and community stakeholders. The award recipients are honored in an annual spring event, the Celebration of Service.

Academic awards, as well as leadership awards given by Student Involvement and Leadership, are detailed here and are given out at the Celebration of Leadership Ceremony, also held annually in spring.