A SUNY Oneonta student is one of just 135 students across the state to receive a 2021 Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence from the State University of New York.
Oneonta’s recipient is Arene Daziah Holston, of the Bronx, NY. Holston is majoring in Political Science and Africana and Latinx Studies and is a member of the Class of 2021.
SUNY hosted a virtual ceremony Wednesday, April 14, for recipients, families and friends, campus leadership, and faculty and staff to congratulate this year’s awardees. The ceremony is available to watch here.
“I am so appreciative for being honored with this award as it makes me feel seen and validated for all the work that I've done within these past four years,” Holston said. “This award is not only a result of all my work but also a result of the potential that my professors, the AOP office, my friends and family, and my community have seen in me.”
While at Oneonta, Holston has conducted and presented independent research on the intersection of capitalism; race, gender, and class; and exploitation and marginalization, and has completed two impressive internships, one with Washington D.C.-based IMPACT Strategies Global. She is a tireless advocate for students of color, women and other marginalized groups and has coordinated numerous events on campus and beyond to raise awareness and promote empowerment.
Holston serves as president of the Students of Color Coalition, a Student Association senator, office assistant for her residence hall, receptionist for the Office of Academic Advisement and social media coordinator for the Office of Access and Opportunity Programs. In her spare time, she gives back to the community as a peer tutor with the Student Learning Center, an academic coaching mentor with AOP and a notetaker with the Accessibility Resources Team. In November 2020, she volunteered to create a PSA graphic animation for NYC 2021 mayoral candidate Dianne Morales’ campaign.
“I am extremely pleased that Arene has been selected to receive this honor,” said SUNY Oneonta Acting President Dennis Craig. “She deserves this special recognition, having combined academic excellence with extensive campus involvement and community service. We are all proud of Arene and confident that her exemplary service and achievements will be the groundwork for great things beyond SUNY Oneonta.”
In announcing the awardees, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras noted the sacrifices students have made over the past 13 months.
“Now more than ever, it is imperative that we mark the milestones and celebrate the brilliance, vision, resilience, and community stewardship of SUNY’s best and brightest,” Malatras said. “Undeterred by the challenges of a once-in-a-generation health crisis, they have all overcome significant odds to pursue their academic passions, become campus and community leaders, help and inspire others, and foster a better world for us all.”
Created in 1997, the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence is the highest honor that SUNY bestows upon students. It is presented annually to SUNY students who demonstrate academic excellence and integrate it with accomplishments in other areas, such as leadership, career achievement, campus involvement, athletics, community service, or creative and performing arts. This year, four new award categories were introduced to recognize diversity, equity, and inclusion; military service; perseverance; and special service in relation to COVID-19.