Crimson & Gray

Student Affairs honors students with Crimson and Gray Award
November 05, 2013

Thousands of men and women have walked through the doors at WPI and left four years later to share their gifts with the world. And each term, more students arrive to populate WPI’s buildings and breathe life into its campus.

The Student Affairs Division honors a select group of students with the Crimson and Gray Award for the ways in which they’ve improved the quality of life at WPI through their impressive abilities and contributions. These juniors and seniors “are recognized for being positive examples of the core values of the Student Affairs Division,” says associate director of student activities Christine Girouard. For a student to become a candidate, he or she must embody the core values of advocacy, citizenship, empowerment, inclusion, respect, and support.

The dedication and commitment to these values goes much deeper than six words can represent. As stated on the Student Affairs website, candidates must advance the agenda of students to the university community, and promote integrity, leadership, personal responsibility, and global perspective. They should foster and encourage the growth and self-esteem of others while providing a voice for multiple viewpoints and promoting a culture of civility. They must show care and consideration for all members of the WPI community, and they must demonstrate genuine concern for the health, balance, and well-being of others. Six short words with six monumental ideas behind them, and still each year WPI must whittle the award recipients down to fifteen.

Students are nominated by faculty or staff, and then are urged to submit an application. Members of the Student Recognition Awards Program vote for up to 15 winners, and those who are chosen receive a plaque. The awards program consists of members from several different departments and offices across campus. Faculty and staff have until November 8 to nominate up to five students.

If evidenced by the opinions of past winners, recipients are well aware of the significance of the Crimson and Gray Award.

“It gave me a sense of confidence and validation for all the hard work I have done for this campus,” says senior Jessica Guyette. “I was really honored to receive the award because I was aware of how prestigious it is, and I never thought that I would be chosen.” Guyette believes her work with the Student Development and Counseling Center, Students Preventing Assault and Rape in our Community, Active Minds, and Promoting Alcohol and Substance Safety all contributed to her receiving the award.

Resident advisor and chair of the Student Alumni Society Joseph Botelho views the award in a similar light. “A lot of people I really look up to and respect also received this award, so to be recognized next to them was very humbling,” says the Phi Kappa Theta member and varsity baseball player.

“I see the award not only as something to be proud of, but also as motivation to continue pushing myself academically while still being involved in leadership roles on campus,” notes previous winner Sarah Cote.

That is the goal of the Crimson and Gray Award. There are no royalties, and a small statue is the only visible token of recognition, but the prestige of receiving it speaks volumes. Named after the colors of WPI’s spirit, the award extends the school’s gratitude to students whose positive actions help form the institute’s identity.

Says senior Brianna Gillespie, “I owe a lot to WPI for the invaluable things I’ve learned, both in and out of the classroom, so to have WPI say, in a way, thanks for my commitment during my time here, it was a really amazing thing.”

If you would like to nominate students for the Crimson and Gray award, visit to fill out a nomination form. Email Christine Girouard at if you have any questions.

By Kelsey Keogh