WSU Spirit Awards

2022 Awards

The WSU Spirit Awards celebrate the life, legacy, and spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. by honoring WSU community members who are dedicated to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. The awards recognize individuals from around the WSU system who continue King’s work in an extraordinary way. 

Call for Submissions

Submission deadline: To be considered, all nominations must be received by 11:59 pm PST on Friday, January 14, 2022.

Submit a Nomination for 2022

Save the Date

The dates are set! Plan to attend these 2022 award ceremonies:

Award Criteria and Eligibility

Distinguished Service Awards

  • Criteria

    This award recognizes an individual or group from the entire Washington State University community who has made an extraordinary contribution toward continuing the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Following in King’s legacy, nominees must promote human rights and social justice in one or all of the following areas: 

    • Altruism and community service: Nominees demonstrate outstanding accomplishments or leadership in serving others and promoting greater justice and social equality. 
    • Advancement of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice: Nominees have notable achievements in creating a supportive, inclusive, and equitable climate for underserved and marginalized groups, as well as recruiting, mentoring, and retaining diverse populations. 
    • Inclusive and equitable practices in academics/education: Nominees have made exceptional efforts in teaching, leadership, or programs that encourage an understanding of and quest for human rights and social justice for all people. 
  • Eligibility

    Nominees for the Distinguished Service Awards must be: 

    • A current Washington State University faculty or staff member 
    • A currently enrolled Washington State University student 
    • A WSU group, organization, community member, or alum

Bayard Rustin LGBTQ+ Excellence Award

Bayard Rustin was an American civil rights leader, best known for serving as an advisor to Martin Luther King, Jr. and organizing Freedom Rides, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the March on Washington. Rustin was an openly gay man who was forced to work behind the scenes due to his sexuality. His work as a mentor and advisor to King in the practice of nonviolent civil resistance influenced the civil rights movement for years. After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed, Rustin transitioned to working on human rights and LGBTQ+ rights.

  • Criteria

    Bayard Rustin was an American civil rights leader best known for serving as an advisor to Martin Luther King Jr. and organizing Freedom Rides, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the March on Washington. 

    Rustin was an openly gay man who was forced to work behind the scenes due to his sexuality. His work as a mentor and advisor to King in the practice of nonviolent civil resistance influenced the civil rights movement for years. After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed, Rustin transitioned to working on human rights and LGBTQ+ rights.  

     

    This award will recognize two individuals and/or groups who embody Rustin’s spirit by: 

    • Operating as advocates/activists for equity, inclusion, and social justice, and/or  
    • Working toward the advancement of the LGBTQ+ community 
  • Eligibility

    Nominees for the Bayard Rustin LGBTQ+ Excellence Award must be: 

    • A current Washington State University faculty/staff member and/or WSU alum 
    • A currently enrolled Washington State University student  

Community, Equity, and Social Justice Award

  • Criteria

    This award recognizes the contribution of time and effort of Washington State University community members toward advancing a climate of inclusive excellence through activism, advocacy, academic endeavors, mentoring, program creation, public service, research, and/or teaching. 

  • Eligibility

    Nominees for the Community, Equity, and Social Justice Award must be: 

    • A current Washington State University faculty/staff member 
    • A currently enrolled Washington State University student 
    • A Washington State University alum  

Elson and Carmento Floyd & William and Felicia Gaskins Social Justice Advocate of the Year Award 

  • Criteria

    This award recognizes an individual or group that has excelled in the work and/or advocacy of diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), and social justice at the interpersonal, unit, or institutional level. Nominees for the inaugural year of this award will have demonstrated a sustained commitment to the advancement of DEI and social justice at Washington State University and/or in the surrounding communities through advocacy, collaborative partnerships, programming, research, service, and/or teaching.  

     

    They will have demonstrated a commitment to creating a culture of equity and inclusion within their areas of influence and have consistently modeled respect and/or inclusive treatment when interacting with others. Additionally, they will have implemented an initiative, project, or program that cultivates, advances, and/or models DEI and social justice principles at WSU or within its surrounding communities. 

     

    Elson S. Floyd was the 10th president of WSU, and he and Carmento were both well-known for their advocacy and care for students. William and Felicia Gaskins are both WSU alums. Bill played football for WSU, and Felicia worked at WSU for 40 years.

  • Eligibility

    Nominees for the Elson and Carmento Floyd & William and Felicia Gaskins Social Justice Advocate of the Year Award must be: 

    • A current or past Washington State University faculty, staff member, or student 
    • A Washington State University alum 

Power Award

  • Criteria

    The inaugural Power Award will recognize two outstanding WSU athletes, athletic alumni, or members of the athletic department who have distinguished themselves in their academic and athletic pursuits. Additionally, winners will be active advocates on their campuses or in their communities for equity, inclusion, and justice through mentoring programming, activism, or other efforts designed to create an inclusive culture and be a voice for others.  

  • Eligibility

    Nominees for the Power Award must be: 

    • A current or past Washington State University athlete or athletics staff member