By: Christopher Mines

From left, police foundations students Connor Briddiscombe, Chris Brown and Riley Jones at the March 19 Student Appreciation Awards. Both Briddiscombe and Jones each won an award.

Riley Jones won the Volunteer of the Year Award during the March 19 Student Appreciation Gala. Jones, who volunteered during the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, is also a regular volunteer with St. John ambulance and has spent over 100 hours volunteering as an Algonquin student.

Jones was honoured among the SAO and dozens of volunteers organized the Student Appreciation Gala where four students won individual awards and over 100 people attended the event.

Algonquin President Kent MacDonald gave an official thank you to all student volunteers.

“You have made the college experience brighter,” said MacDonald. “You gave something scarce which was your time.”

Connor Briddiscombe won the Dedication and Involvement Award and Kayla Springer won the Community Impact Award. Lucas Silvestre Capalbo won the Outstanding Leadership Award and he accepted the Special Club Award on behalf of his group the Latin American Society of Algonquin. Fifteen students were nominated for the four awards. The winners were selected based on a 500 word application and an independent committee picked the winners.

The event was hosted by Brains4Breakfast DJ Dario Petruzzi. In his keynote address Petruzzi highlighted what inspired him as a student to volunteer. Petruzzi said there is no clear cut way for students to inspire one another but students cannot be boring.

“School is something so much more than stress, anxiety and grumpy cat memes,” said Petruzzi. “It becomes something of joy and accomplishment if you volunteer.”

Clubs and communities coordinator Faris Lehn announced that students who volunteer will soon have a new official volunteer document to go along with their transcript. The document will record a student’s entire volunteer experience at Algonquin and will be launched this fall.

“I owe everything I have to volunteers like you,” said Lehn.

A brief clip was shown of Rick Mercer congratulating Algonquin for raising over $40,000 during the Spread the Net campaign. Mercer also said he hoped the guests enjoyed eating their cheese truffles and chicken supreme.