The Joseph H. Benedict Jr. Social Change Award for Racial Justice honors an institution that develops an outstanding social justice program that stimulates conversation and action among campus constituents. The recipient institution will receive $800 in recognition of their campus’s engagement with inclusive conversations and strategies which encourage institutional change and address racial injustices.
2023 Recipient: Various Voices, University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh
The goal of Various Voices is to create a more understanding, inclusive campus environment for the greatest success of all students. Programs were designed to foster an awareness of and conversation surrounding intersectional identities and impacts on social and professional systems in society. So far, offerings have included Black women in mental health career fields and the stigmas and barriers they have faced. Never underestimate giving college students and professionals the opportunity to share their story; it allows participants to understand a lived issue beyond the stories they may hear in about in the media or in textbooks.
ACUI is now accepting nominations for campus awards! Nominate by December 8!
About Joseph H. Benedict
As the “Black Lives Matter” movement stimulated considerable discussion about blatant and subtle racial injustices toward people of color, Joseph H. Benedict Jr. noted the polarization that currently exists on college campuses, in the United States, and around the world, and that leadership is needed to develop and implement educational forums to discuss these challenging social issues. Through a generous gift from Benedict in 2016, this award was created to celebrate campus initiatives that stimulate conversation and develop action strategies for policy change that will address acts of bigotry and alleviate the injustice(s) identified.
A long-time ACUI member and volunteer, Benedict served as a regional director, chair for various committees, vice president for regional affairs, and on the Board of Trustees before becoming president in 1986. His career in higher education administration spans nearly 50 years, most recently serving as executive director of the student center at CUNY–Brooklyn College before his retirement in 2008. Benedict’s contributions to the college union and student activities field, as well as to the Association, were honored with the ACUI Butts-Whiting Award in 1994. He has been a mainstay of Region 3 and VII conferences for decades.