WCU students win state awards at residence hall conference

Western Carolina University students earned state awards and recognition recently at the North Carolina Association of Residence Halls annual conference, held on the WCU campus.

Matt Driver, a junior majoring in commercial and electronic music from Rocky Mount, won best first-year case study for the solution he developed to a residence hall issue. Tomisha Gaither, a sophomore majoring in sport management from Winston-Salem, won the Starfish Award, which honors an outstanding representative from each delegation. Brian Boyer, resident director of Walker Hall, and Thomas Jones, a sophomore public relations major from Andrews, won top program for the human development leadership retreats at Western. Erica DeSota, a junior biology and chemistry major from Climax, was elected to be associate director of the state organization.

More than 150 students and advisers from 13 schools attended the conference, which was hosted by Western as a result of a bid proposal WCU students submitted two years ago. Planners and coordinators were Jessica Nelms, a junior majoring in parks and recreation management from Advance; Samantha Strazanac, a freshman majoring in biology from Raleigh; adviser Peggy Cope, resident director of Harrill Hall; and 30 student volunteers and 13 volunteers from WCU’s Department of Residential Living professional staff.

“It was a huge honor to get to host the conference, and we had an overwhelmingly positive response,” said Cope. “People loved it.”