GRANVILLE, Ohio—Denison University senior Elena Speridakos, an educational studies major from Cincinnati, has been awarded the Charles J. Ping Award by the Ohio Campus Compact.
Speridakos has held leadership positions in many different areas of the Denison Community Association (DCA), the umbrella organization for Denison’s 27 off-campus community service committees. She currently serves on the DCA Cabinet. In her role as reflections chair, Speridakos worked effectively to help all DCA volunteers prepare for a future of active citizenship by helping them understand the rationale for their service as well as recognize its full community impact.
Beginning as a mentor in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters’ Lunch Buddy program, which serves a diverse group of underprivileged children by providing mentoring relationships during school lunch times, Speridakos moved into serving as a Big Sister for the same child for the past four years. She became chair of the Big Brothers/Big Sisters DCA committee at the beginning of her sophomore year, and under her leadership the committee has grown by 50 percent. Starting with a team of 98 members, Speridakos now directs an organization that is currently 147 strong and is the single largest committee within DCA.
Speridakos also has been the student leader for two Break Away trips, week-long community service trips that focus on specific societal issues that take place out of state during the last week of winter break.
Dale Knobel, Denison’s president, said of Speridakos, “Lena’s strong sense of social justice and personal service commitment are evident in the time and effort she applies to such varied community service causes. Her unique leadership qualities multiply the impact of her efforts by extending her service and contagious enthusiasm through her team members to the communities they serve.”
The Charles J. Ping Award is designed to honor undergraduate students’ outstanding leadership and contributions to community service on campus and off. In order to win the award, candidates must show evidence of exemplary community service, especially efforts that connect service with academic study or programs that generate long-term community support.
The Ohio Campus Compact is a nonprofit membership organization of 47 Ohio colleges and universities with strong community service, service-learning, and civic engagement programs on their campuses.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.