A St. John’s student has received national recognition for serving the community as a nominee for a high ranking award.
Eugenia Soldatos, a senior, is a finalist for the Students In Service Award, which recognizes students who have been active in their community. The award requires a project that involves community awareness for a social or environmental issue, Soldatos said. She explained that her project is on legal documentation and how it holds people back from socially or economically developing.
Soldatos was nominated through the Ozanam program, which she has been a member of since her freshman year. After Students in Service approved her nomination, Soldatos explained that she had to go through several rounds of voting to make it into the final round.
Anyone could register to vote for the nominees, and Soldatos credits those who voted for her, for making it this far. “My family and friends, as well as my connection with them through Facebook was instrumental in obtaining votes,” she said. “Without their support I would have never been placed as a top 15 finalist.”
The initiative design, called “Project Identity,” was founded by Soldatos and John Wilson, another Ozanam Scholar, seeks to help the less fortunate obtain proper identification to find work. The project runs at St. John’s Bread and Life, a soup kitchen in Brooklyn, and has helped a number of people, she said.
“There are countless individuals sitting in the soup kitchen right now, homeless and placed within the category of poor- who are there because they do not have a birth certificate, social security card or NYS Non Driver’s State ID card to gain employment, education or additional government benefits,” Soldatos said.
Soldatos also made clear that it was more than the award itself but what her project seeks to accomplish. Spreading the importance of legal identification or documents to those who did not know was one of the most important parts, she said.
Soldatos said she is also involved in many other groups and organizations on campus. The legal studies major said that she plans to go to law school after she graduates this spring.
SISA is a joint effort between the Washington Campus Compact and Inspireum.
According to the Students in Service Award Web site, The Washington Campus Compact is a collective of 41 two and four-year universities that “are committed to providing meaningful experiences for students to become active, engaged leaders in their communities, furthering the civic and public purposes of higher education, and strengthening communities.”
The Web site also said Inspireum is a media platform that “helps organizations recognize and reward inspirational young people in America.”
The selection board that chooses the winner of the award is made of several University professors and heads of scholarship foundations. The criteria listed on the SISA for who is eligible is any student who is 18 and taking at least six credits at a current university. The projects can take place anywhere in the world, be completed or in progress, and be either a team or a single person project.