Carroll Honors Three Students for Exemplary Service

HELENA - Carroll College has recognized three students for their exemplary commitment of service by awarding them with the Raymond G. Hunthausen Outstanding Collegiate Citizenship Award. The selection committee chooses students who work to improve the lives of others through their own unselfish commitment of time, energy and compassion. This year’s recipients are Sapphire Carter, Ryan Edens, and Connor Smith.

Senior Sapphire Carter from Box Elder, Montana, was nominated for her “passion, understanding, and dedication to social justice” through her volunteer work. These qualities are evident in her contributions to multiple underrepresented communities at Carroll, as well as young children and senior citizens within the larger Helena community, and Native American communities in Montana. On campus, Sapphire has been actively involved in numerous student-led organizations including the Intercultural Students Network (ISN) that provides a support system through faculty- and student-led mentorship programs for students of multiple backgrounds and cultures transitioning into Carroll College, as well as the Organization of American Students and International Students (OASIS) at Carroll. In addition, as a self-identified Native American student, Sapphire has served Native American communities in a variety of capacities including mentor, event volunteer, and as a Youth Cabinet Member for National Congress of American Indians in Washington D.C.

Ryan Edens is a senior health science major from Helena, Montana. In his nomination letter he was described as an “enthusiastic and warm person with a deeply compassionate nature and awareness, unusual for someone so young. He holds himself to very high standards academically but still dedicates much of his free time to helping others.” In addition to raising over $1,500 in support of increased awareness of childhood cancer, Ryan has devoted a significant amount of his time helping those who struggle with learning and developmental disabilities. He mentors two developmentally disabled young men providing companionship and respite relief. He also helps train and coach Special Olympic athletes. During his time at Carroll, he has participated in three service abroad trips with Montana Dental Outreach to Ecuador, Haiti and Uganda. Following his trip to Ecuador, he became active with the non-profit organization “Families With Heart,” which helps provide medical and assistant services to Ecuadorian families with disabled individuals.

Connor Smith, a senior biology major from West Richland, Washington, was nominated for many reasons: his commitment to service, particularly international service, his leadership, and the enthusiasm he brings to his roles on campus and in the community. Connor serves as a student ambassador and a student director for the Gold Team, and also volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters. He has traveled several times to Varanasi, India, as part of Carroll-sponsored service trips. After his return from India in January 2015, Connor was determined to share his India experience with the Carroll campus and the Helena community. He established a student club, The India Project, which included fundraising, events, and educational projects. Over the past year, he has also established a non-profit organization, the Water and Education Fund for India (WEFI). He returned to India again this winter and was able to use funds raised from the club and the non-profit to benefit a number of individuals and organizations in Varanasi.

This prestigious award for community service, presented to deserving students who make outstanding contributions to the college or a community, has been a Carroll tradition since 1986. The award was named for Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen because of his exemplary commitment to peace and justice in his personal and professional life and his strong pastoral care for all people.