DELAWARE, OHIO – For the eighth consecutive year, an Ohio Wesleyan University student has earned a Charles J. Ping Student Community Service Award for outstanding leadership and commitment to community service.
Ohio Wesleyan’s 2011-2012 award recipient is junior Iftekhar Ahmed Showpnil, a biochemistry and biology double major from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Showpnil is being recognized for his participation and leadership in a wide variety of service projects.
His efforts include raising funds to address issues of world hunger; tutoring and mentoring inner-city schoolchildren; building sheds for Habitat for Humanity; volunteering at Delaware’s Grace Clinic and Common Ground Free Store; volunteering at the Columbus Open Shelter; participating in river clean-ups; helping to organize Ohio Wesleyan’s Sept. 11 observance as part of the national President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge; and serving as one of the initiating leaders of the Ohio Wesleyan University – Better Together campaign, a nationwide effort to promote interfaith tolerance through cooperation.
“Through my work with the Interfaith Leadership Council, I have seen how powerful it is when students come together and work on a single project as a team regardless of their faith and cultural backgrounds,” Showpnil said of the presidential initiative. “Ohio Wesleyan University – Better Together is a part of the Interfaith Youth Core Better Together campaign, which asks the question, ‘What if people of all faiths and traditions worked together to promote common good for all?’ ”
To help address global hunger, Showpnil was one of the organizers of Ohio Wesleyan’s first World Cup Soccer Tournament (Soccer for Food) in November.
“We hosted a two-day tournament with teams representing different countries,” Showpnil said. “We had 17 organizations participating and about 30 volunteers who helped run the event. We raised over $1,200 for CARE’s East African Hunger Crisis Project. What I loved about working on this event was that our organizing committee had nine students from six different countries, and they were all passionate about the fund-raiser. Collaborating with so many organizations on this fund-raiser was a perfect example for me of how we can be Better Together. It was fun helping out with the tournament preparations, and we plan to make this a yearly event.”
Ohio Wesleyan President Rock Jones, Ph.D., said Showpnil inspires the campus community with his commitment to local, national, and international service.
“Iftekhar has the heart of a servant leader,” Jones said, “and his efforts include direct service, awareness-building, and fund-raising activities. … In spite of his challenging coursework and his commitment to academic excellence, Iftekhar continually devotes himself to the needs of others – strengthening existing campus programs, creating sustainable new initiatives, and taking independent action when he sees a need. … Iftekhar is a quiet, humble, and inclusive leader.”
As part of his Ping Award, Showpnil will receive a $500 legacy grant, which he intends to contribute to HaitiOWU, a partnership between the Pwoje Espwa orphanage in Les Cayes, Haiti, and the Ohio Wesleyan community. The ongoing initiative was founded in 2010 by student Gretchen Curry.
The Ping Award is presented by the Ohio Campus Compact, a Granville, Ohio-based nonprofit coalition of 47 Ohio colleges and universities. The legacy grant is provided by State Farm Insurance. For more information about the organization, visit www.ohiocampuscompact.org.
Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU’s close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 47 states and 57 countries. Ohio Wesleyan was named to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” and is included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.