March 3, 2017

SVSU student’s servant leadership results in Emerging Leader award from YWCA

Saginaw Valley State University student Rebecca “Becks” Meredith has been selected by the YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region to receive an Emerging Leader award for her enthusiastic service on campus and in the community.

The award is designated for women between the ages of 18-25 who demonstrate emerging leadership skills and a philosophy of empowerment; it is given to one student from each of four colleges and universities in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

A special education major from Rogers City, Meredith has displayed a passion for extracurricular involvement at SVSU. She serves as a resident assistant in one of SVSU's residence halls; she coordinates service trips for Habitat for Humanity and Alternative Breaks, and she is a dedicated member of Forever Red, a student organization that works to enhance the student experience at SVSU and prepare students for life after college.

Meredith also coaches Little League teams and has taken volunteer-based leadership roles for Relay for Life and Special Olympics.

While Meredith shines academically, posting a 3.87 GPA, she is most inspired by her learning outside the classroom.

“My academic life and accomplishments show a lot of hard work and dedication to that area,” she said. “However, my holistic education means even more because I can take everything I encounter and learn from it in a different, more useful way.”

Meredith’s first volunteer service trip to rural Harlan, Kentucky through SVSU’s Alternative Breaks program made a lasting impression.

“We did everything from volunteering at a senior living facility to making dog houses,” she said. “I didn't know what to expect, and I left that trip with a new sense of appreciation for volunteering and gratitude for the things in my life. It was the first time I had actually seen the direct impact my service could have on someone and the gratitude that comes along with it.”

Meredith later traveled to Orlando, Florida on an Alternative Break to volunteer for A Gift for Teaching, an organization gives school supplies to teachers, who distribute the supplies to their students in need.

“I saw firsthand how important it is for students to have the appropriate supplies they need to truly succeed,” she said. “As a future educator, it was interesting to compare and contrast our school systems here in Michigan to those in Florida. It reinforced that I want to be a teacher and help students.”

Beyond service trips, Meredith also traveled to Italy as part of a study abroad program. She expects to graduate SVSU in May 2018. She will receive her award during the 2017 YWCA Women of Achievement ceremony Wednesday, March 15.

For more information regarding the YWCA Women of Achievement Awards, please visit www.ywcaglbr.org/women-of-achievement-awards/.