The Outstanding Student Ceremony for Awards and Recognition is held annually by UW Tacoma as a way to recognize and celebrate the hard work of students, faculty and staff across campus. The 17th Annual OSCARs awards will be announced via online video on Friday, May 29 in response to COVID-19 and the fully online quarter. 

Steve Schauz, the student program specialist at the Center for Student Involvement provided insight into this year’s process. 

“We worked with Mark DePaul to create a hybrid model for the OSCARs, with about half of the event being pre-recorded — namely Departmental Awards and Committee Recognition —  and the rest, including the big awards, to be announced live,” Shauz said. 

The event will have live hosts to transition between pre-recorded videos and live content. The goal of this hybrid format is to allow students to experience the announcement of the major awards in real time. The original plan was to have pre-record the entire event, but took inspiration from Chancellor Mark Pagano’s online town halls and altered plans accordingly.

“Those recipients will still receive that wonderful thrill of learning they won right in that moment,: Shauz said.

While the OSCARs have never been presented in an online  format before, Shauz is confident that the event will run smoothly. 

 “Every ceremony has included a number of videos, but nothing of this magnitude!” Shauz enthusiastically said. “Yet, we are confident that, with the assistance of Mark and his team, this ceremony will be smooth and really no different from an in-person ceremony when it comes to the flow and structure of the event.” 

The transitioning for this ceremony to be online was a necessity, but the goal of the Center for Student Involvement is to create an experience to honor the recipients and nominees for all they have done for the UWT community, just as they would have been any other year. There is a shortcoming which Schauz noted about the online performance.

“Our only major drawback, aside from not being able to meet in person to celebrate, is that there is no way for us to send attendees the delicious food we typically cater via Zoom chat!” Shauz joked. “If only Wi-Fi worked like that!”

Still, Schauz hopes that this online OSCARs will be just as meaningful as an in-person event. Many different students are recognized for their efforts, such as those who completed volunteer work through the Huskies Volunteer program. Different organizations also hand out awards every year to recognize and honor upstanding students. Additionally, the OSCARs are a time to acknowledge the Husky 100 recipients from UWT.

While an online format does not capture the same feeling an in-person ceremony would, Shauz explained the necessity of the situation which all students are facing right now.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has rendered more visible than ever the disparities in our systems, the shortcomings of leadership and the burdens carried by different folks on the daily,” Shauz said. “A lot will need to change; and we need to be willing to change and adapt.  And we need to be able to truly see one another in order for those changes to gestate. Hope —  not always the easiest thing to cultivate —  is more vital than ever, as it is the catalyst that keeps us fighting to do good, to make the world a better, kinder place.”

Schauz ended his thoughts reflecting on the need to still host the OSCARs in some format and to celebrate people who have done good work and achieved their goals.

“The OSCARs is just one small part of that: a way for us to come together,as much as we can, and uplift our fellow students, faculty, and staff at a time when so much is pushing us apart.  Even in these times of hardship, it is human to pause to celebrate and congratulate.  We can carry both the struggle and the hope simultaneously: we must.  We hope you will join us in a night of celebrating folks who make the world a little better everyday.”

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