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PSU student named Oregon student employee of the year
Author: Laura Gleim, Institute for Sustainable Solutions
Posted: April 15, 2013

Danielle Grondin received the 2012-2013 Oregon student employee of the year award.
 

Portland State University student Danielle Grondin has been named Oregon student employee of the year by the Western Association of Student Employment Administrators. The statewide award was announced April 11 at a student employee celebration at the Smith Memorial Student Union.  

“When I was a freshman, I realized that our world needed to be changed,” said Danielle Grondin, senior sociology major and food systems coordinator for the Sustainability Leadership Center at Portland State University. 

Grondin has been working to spur that change at PSU since fall 2010 when she became a resident assistant with University Housing. Her experience working with at-risk youth prior to coming to PSU primed her for her new role mentoring peers who were living away from home for the first time. 

In December 2010, Grondin transitioned into a new position with the PSU Sustainability Leadership Center (SLC), where she designed and launched the PSU EcoReps program to inform and engage students around sustainability issues in the residence halls. Now in its third year, the EcoReps program continues to evolve with each new cohort of students, a characteristic Grondin sees as a key to the success of all the SLC’s programs.

“At the SLC, the work isn’t about what I want to see, it's about what we want to see,” said Grondin. “When you invest in others, it's a win-win for everyone.” 

This year, Grondin made another shift into the newly created food systems coordinator position with the SLC. She has been working with campus dining services to bring more local, sustainable food to campus and launch composting programs in the residence halls. She also worked with a team of volunteers to host an event for indigenous and non-indigenous people to engage with each other about the often-ignored but contentious issues around the holiday of Thanksgiving.

The PSU Student Employment Steering Committee, which submitted Grondin’s name for the statewide competition, selected her as PSU’s student employee of the year from a pool of nominations provided by supervisors.

 
Oregon student employee of the year Danielle Grondin
with her parents.
 

“I am so grateful to be a part of the SLC team—all of my coworkers are fantastic people to work with and for. They are also amazing friends and awe-inspiring human beings,” said Grondin. “The SLC is like another home to me, and I am so happy to have a job that I wholeheartedly enjoy. I know how to be a part of a community because of this experience—it’s all about working together.”