2020 Excellence Award Recipients from Campus Life

Dara Bayer - Diversity & Inclusion

Dara Bayer has been influential in building the nation's first university Transformative Justice program. Despite a global pandemic, she has continued programing, sustaining 2 cohorts of student-centered Transformative Justice Practitioner Programs (TJPP) and 2 cohorts of staff Transformative Justice Practitioners. Dara’s work has begun to significantly alter the ways in which the University thinks about violence on campus and within our local community, attempting to move the focus from a punitive approach to one that fosters community engagement and relationships, sets accountability standards, and builds systems of support for those who have either caused or been affected by violence. The TJPP student program is a yearlong immersive experience where participants cultivate the awareness and skills necessary to develop strong communities, capable of responding to harm and conflict in transformative ways. Dara and her team of students have begun the important work of positively impacting the culture at Brown, moving the needle toward an even more supportive, personalized and caring space, and have done so in little over a year. Her work with University departments and her partnerships with local community organizations have made a significant and lasting impact.


Nicholas Greene – Rising Star

Since coming to Brown in the Summer of 2018, Nick has repeatedly made innovative changes to existing processes, stepped in to provide critical support in times of need, and had a tremendous positive impact on the department of Residential Life. Nick has been instrumental in streamlining key University housing and administrative processes, vastly improving the residential student experience at Brown. By putting student needs first, Nick was able to collaborate with key stakeholders in pre-college programs and Facilities Management to make significant adjustments to summer and winter break housing arrangements that resulted in fewer moves and improved residential connectedness and community. Nick has also been a key member of the project team leading the department's transition to a new housing management software, StarRez. This new software has allowed the department to rapidly adapt to the ever evolving COVID-19 crisis. In addition, Nick has also been key to the department, and the University's, COVID-19 response, providing necessary data to the Healthy Brown Fall 2020 task force and other senior leadership to inform their decisions on public health guidance for the Fall 2020 semester. Going into the Summer of 2020, Nick worked with a team of senior leadership and colleagues in Residential Life and Computing and Information Services to design the Fall 2020 Location of Study form, which was instrumental to the University's ability to gather data about our students' Fall plans. This data was used by the College, Financial Aid, the Registrar, Student Financial Services, and a host of other departments on campus to inform their work leading to the Fall 2020 semester. Through his efforts, the student residential experience at Brown has been significantly enhanced, and he is truly a remarkable example of one of Brown’s Rising Stars.


Athletics – Efficiency

Bridgette Cahill and Jennifer Miller-McEachern

Even 9 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more information has been emerging about its far-reaching effects. While NCAA compliance might not be the first to come to mind as a critical component of a University’s functioning, it is one of those unsung heroes where, if you pull one strand, the entire web collapses, and every program along with it. With one of the largest Athletics departments in the country and over 900 student athletes, staying on top of NCAA rules and regulations is a daunting task. Throw in a global pandemic and assign the process to only 2 staff members, and you are beginning to comprehend the monumental work that Bridgette Cahill and Jennifer Miller-McEachern have accomplished this past year. As University compliance officers, Bridgette and Jen were responsible for ensuring that Brown’s 100+ coaches were up to date with constant rule changes, athlete transfers, fee waivers and more. They have been in touch with coaches daily to ensure they have the most up-to-date information and to help guide Brown’s student-athletes. Bridgette and Jen responded immediately, despite the countless number of calls, emails and texts they receive from staff members, student-athletes and parents at all hours, and on nights, weekends and holidays. They do it all with patience and respect, never making anyone feel like a burden. According to Head Softball Coach Kate Refsnyder, “They have been the glue that has held our department together since mid-March.” 


COVID-19 E-Gap Advisory Team – Service

Andrew Heald, Julio Reyes, Renata Mauriz & staff from The College

The COVID-19 E-Gap Advisory Team, composed of staff members from the College and Campus Life, represents a collaborative and integrated approach to problem solving, individualized advising to assess student need, and a dedication to equity to ensure all students irrespective of their financial resources would have the opportunity to continue their remote studies successfully. Through one-on-one advising meetings and innovative, systemic approaches to student support, the team addressed the unique circumstances-- financial, academic, and personal-- that students faced immediately and during the remainder of the spring 2020 semester, with ongoing impact and support into the summer and this fall term. At a time of increased anxiety and uncertainty, the COVID-19 E-Gap Advisory Team proactively reached out to students to underscore the University's dedication to their continued learning and wellbeing. The team worked continuously in a multi-phased approach to uncover student concerns exacerbated by the pandemic and to advocate for the implementation of additional support structures to address the academic and personal needs of students most impacted by COVID-19. Phase 1, which started on March 13, established the Transition E-Gap fund which provided support for travel, moving, storage, computing needs and various basic personal needs such as food, rent, loss of income, etc. This initial phase focused on helping students safely get to their intended destination for the remainder of the spring semester, even if that was determined to be remaining at Brown. Future phases built on the model of Phase 1 providing further support to additional students. The work of the COVID-19 E-Gap Advisory Team helped to ensure that students felt supported during the uncertainty of the transition to remote learning. Their relational approach to advising and support ensured that all students had the necessary tools and technologies to work, learn, and live. Indeed, many students expressed their relief and gratitude to feel heard by a University staff member in advising appointments.