Announcing the 2021 recipients of the Mike Coleman Award for Citizenship

Adam and Taylor pose with Jessie at VIU's Cowichan Campus

Adam Smith and Taylor Aichelberger are this year’s joint recipients of the Mike Coleman Award for Citizenship.

Every year Mike Coleman, former mayor of Duncan, donates $250 and a keeper trophy award to a Vancouver Island University (VIU) Cowichan campus student. The award is to recognize students who have demonstrated good citizenship within the campus and the community. Students who have made a positive contribution to the life of the VIU campus and/or community can be nominated by their fellow students, staff or faculty.

This year’s nominees were all outstanding and it was an incredibly difficult decision. In the end it was decided to recognize two individuals.

Adam is a natural leader and engaged citizen. Despite facing many challenges of his own, he has always gone out of his way to be helpful and supportive to his fellow students, and to ensure they all feel included. He has been a big advocate for his family in pursuing the community supports they have needed. Every day he finds ways to push back against systemic barriers that he faces, all the while sharing his positivity and respect with everyone he encounters.

Taylor has been an outstanding support to her peers throughout this difficult year. She has reached out to others and ensured that her peers have been connected. During the COVID lockdown, and while the local Cowichan Tribes were dealing with a severe flooding emergency, she set up a fundraiser program and food drive. She worked with a friend from Cowichan Tribes to deliver supplies and necessities to their homes.

Recognizing and celebrating the successes of our students in this way is part of what makes this work so rewarding. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to this year’s recipients and look forward to seeing their future successes.