Student finds purpose through campus service
Allie Salrin named 2021 Undergraduate Student of the Year
By Madyn G. Coakley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Allie Salrin came to the University of South Carolina intent on studying international business, but after taking a job in the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity during her first semester, she quickly realized her interest in public policy and service. She decided to change her major to criminal justice and political science, and from there, her engagement with the campus community only grew.
As a result, Salrin is the recipient of the 2021 Undergraduate Student of the Year Award presented by the Association for Student Conduct Administration for her dedication to promoting the values of community, inclusion, integrity and education.
The national organization for student affairs professionals recognizes an undergraduate student who has contributed greatly to their institution within the past year. For Salrin, her impact began at the very start of her college career.
“USC is unique and special to me … I still feel like I couldn’t have gone anywhere else and gotten the same experience,” says Salrin, who is from Illinois. “Being at USC, because I got involved in these organizations and offices, I feel like I’m much more prepared to go beyond graduation — prepared to be a follower, be a leader, be part of a team, serve my community.”
In addition to nearly four years as a worker within the Student Conduct Office, Salrin has been an athletics academic tutor, a Capstone Scholar and a tuba player in the Carolina Band. As a student on the Dean’s Advisory Council, she makes sure her peers’ voices are heard about issues on campus regarding diversity, inequity and the First Amendment and helps with the university’s quality enhancement plan. She is also a member of a new student organization called Safely Engaging in Expression Delegates, a committee that helps ensure protected expression on campus.
I’m confident leaving USC knowing I actually care about what I’m doing, and having the opportunity to do that every single day, I’m super excited.
Allie Salrin, 2021 Undergraduate Student of the Year
Salrin also joined the Carolina Judicial Council her freshman year and has since sat on multiple conduct and academic integrity cases for her fellow students to ensure that they have a fair hearing. Last year, she served as the council president and demonstrated leadership skills while guiding the organization during the pandemic.
It was for these reasons that Maureen Grewe, director of student conduct in the Office of the Dean of Students, nominated Salrin for the student of the year award.
“I can’t say enough great things about her,” says Grewe, who works with Salrin in the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Intregrity. “I think she is a great ambassador for our institution and has much to be proud of with all of her accomplishments. She is just someone who has taken advantage of the resources and support that Carolina has to offer our students and is really a success within the Carolina community.”
Salrin was shocked and surprised when she received an email congratulating her on the award because she had had no idea Grewe submitted her name. “I thought they chose the wrong person,” she says with characteristic humility.
But after reading the nomination on her behalf, Salrin says she was touched to see the impact her involvement has made from a different perspective and from someone she considers a mentor.
Salrin says working in the student conduct office is her most treasured experience at South Carolina.
“It is intense and emotionally charged, but as someone who watches the people there and how that impacts other students, it changed my whole college experience,” she says. “It’s taught me that you might only be engaging in one facet of something, one part of a policy, one part of an event, but that’s not everything that’s happening. Someone that is different from you or is participating in a different way, might be interacting with that same exact policy in a completely different way. You have to take into consideration how that is going to affect other people, not just yourself.”
When her final semester ends in May, Salrin will be graduating summa cum laude with Graduation with Leadership Distinction through the civic and professional engagement pathway. After graduation, she plans to continue her public service work in the Midlands area of South Carolina.
Salrin’s passion for public policy and safety, as well as her awareness and objectivity, come from others. She says people inspire her to continue each day because she sees herself as only one part of a bigger picture.
“I’m confident leaving USC knowing I actually care about what I’m doing, and having the opportunity to do that every single day, I’m super excited,” she says. “I know what I want to do and to do it in a way that is meaningful to me … I am ready to lead and listen, and I’m really grateful.”
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