MLK Award recipients announced: Sarah Signorino and Alie Iwanenko

By Megan Rooney

Features Contributor

Every year, one student and one faculty member are awarded the Dr. Martin Luther King Leadership Award. This award is given to individuals that embody the values of Dr. King through human rights activism, attention to social justice and civil rights issues, advocacy for the poor, and by valuing non-violence.

Recently, Canisius College student Alie Iwanenko and Canisius College Campus Minister Sarah Signorino were given this award.

Canisius, being a Jesuit institution, values intelligence, caring, faithfulness, community, and service to humanity. These are all values that parallel the MLK Award, making it so vital to the Canisius community as it awards faculty and students that embody these core values, as well as the values of Dr. King.

Social justice is an integral part of Canisius and our Jesuit heritage, which is grounded in the philosophy of being “men and women for others.” The Canisius College website, on addressing the scholarship, reads, “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was at the forefront of social justice in America and we honor his life and his dedication to peace and equality through the Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Program.”

Upon publicizing that Signorino had won the award, chairperson Gary Everett sent out an announcement that read, “Her devotion to the ideals of social justice embodied by the life and work of Dr. King has made Canisius College a place where Christian values are put into action on a number of different levels.”

Signorino’s work through Campus Ministry, and with the poor and marginalized in the city of Buffalo, displays her dedication to promoting faith, compassion, and nonviolence. Regarding her job, Signorino said, “ I like to describe my job in Campus Ministry as ‘afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted.’”

Due to her ideals and consistency in her work, Signorino contributes a lot to the community through her personal work and work through Canisius College. This made her a prime recipient for the MLK Award.

Canisius student Alie Iwanenko was also excited to find out that she was receiving the award. In regards to winning, she said, “The award is a great motivator for me to continue doing the work I am involved in, but I really don’t see it having a huge impact in the way I act in the future because I am involved in the work I do to be a woman with and for others, and to be in solidarity with others. I have followed my passions in life without getting awards for it. I do this work because I love it and I don’t need the recognition to continue to work for justice. “

In order to win this award, an individual must be nominated; then, a committee goes through the nominations and chooses one faculty member and one student to win the award each year. Any person affiliated with Canisius College is free to nominate anyone that they feel is worthy. MLK Awards will be presented at the Spring Honors Convocation.


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