APIDA Gala graphic

Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Graduation and Leadership Awards (APIDA GALA)

Wednesday, May 4, 2022 | 1 p.m. | BSC Multipurpose Room

Asian Pacific Islander and Desi American Graduation and Leadership Awards (APIDA GALA) celebrate the outstanding achievements, accomplishments, and contributions of individual student leaders, organizations, and graduates of the APIDA community at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. This event also celebrates the accomplishments of our APIDA graduates as Stellar Graduates. We invite all members of the Rutgers community to register and attend the event and nominate a student leaderorganization, event, or a featured student speaker.


Stellar Graduates

The Asian American Cultural Center (AACC) would like to recognize graduating Asian Pacific Islander and Desi undergraduate and graduate students (as of December 2021 or May 2022) who have been heavily involved in the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) community at Rutgers. Individuals can be current/past presidents, executive board members, general members of student organizations, or an APIDA student at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. The AACC will celebrate the Stellar Graduates with stoles and recognize them during Virtual APIDA GALA as a token of appreciation.

We invite students to self-nominate or nominate a graduating APIDA student as a Stellar Graduate. Given the limited space capacity, the first 200 students to register for Stellar Graduates will be accepted to receive the stoles at the APIDA GALA. Please provide the correct e-mail of the graduate in order for us to confirm their attendance at the APIDA GALA. The graduate must be present at the GALA to receive a stole.

The Stellar Graduate form is now closed.


Award Nominations

The APIDA GALA 2022 celebrates the outstanding achievements and contributions of individual students and organizational programming in the Rutgers Asian Pacific Islander & Desi community. There are two individual awards and six program/group awards. All faculty, staff, student organization leaders, and individual students are welcomed to nominate a student organization or an individual. The award recipients will be announced during the APIDA GALA. 

All nominations forms are now closed.


Student Organization Awards

Best Performing Arts Group or Program

This award honors a performing arts program/event or a performing group that exemplifies excellence in any performing art such as dance, singing, acting, etc. This event or the group should be nominated for showcasing talent and dedication to the APIDA community in a unique fashion and/or for showcasing their talents on the Rutgers stage and beyond.

Student Organization of the Year

This award recognizes the paramount achievement of a registered student organization over the year that causes the group to stand out as compared to others. The recipient demonstrates commitment to the organization’s purpose and the general membership, but also contributes to the Rutgers community as a whole. The recipient will have demonstrated a high level of achievement in many areas, including membership involvement, organization development, leadership training and opportunity, active participation in Rutgers campus activities, and community service. collaboration with other campus organizations or events. The recipient of the award will receive $250 to use for the organization’s programming for Academic year 2022 – 2023.

Best Academic/Educational Program

This award recognizes an organization that excelled in educating members of the Rutgers Community through a coordinated program or project. The program should address the ability to make positive change, connect to larger social issues and make a difference in the community.

Most Culturally Authentic Program

This award honors a program for its commitment to educating others on a culture, particularly through unique programming showcasing authentic aspects of the culture. The recipient of this award should demonstrate this cultural authenticity through various outlets such as performing arts, clothing, and ethnic foods.

Best Charity/Philanthropy Program

This award aims to recognize a program that committed to the philanthropic organization’s purpose and the community served by the organization. The nomination should display exemplary results in raising awareness and donations toward a cause, and sincere passion and dedication to philanthropic work.

Most Engaging Virtual Program

This program is aimed to recognized a virtual program that with high attendance and engagement during this pandemic. The virtual program nomination can be in any category including academic, social, financial, wellness, or performing arts and it must demonstrate high engagement during the event.

Student Leader Awards

Ying Zheng Excellence in Leadership Award

The Student Leader of the Year Award recognizes a model student who integrated academic excellence with other aspects of their lives. The recipient of this award maintained a high GPA while also holding an impressive array of extra-curricular accomplishments which may include the arts, leadership positions, involvement in student and/or community organizations, career achievement, athletics, and community service. This student should have outstanding service to their recognized student organization(s) with their vision, leadership and ability to meet the goals of their student organization(s). The recipient of this award will receive a $500 award to use toward their leadership & career journey.

Leading by Example: Outstanding Graduating Leader of the Year

This award celebrates a graduating senior who has demonstrated exemplary leadership through their work with the Rutgers APIDA community. The recipient of this award should have demonstrated leadership qualities both in and out of academic spaces, is an active member within the Rutgers APIDA community, served in leadership roles in student and community organizations, and has worked actively to advocate for APIDA issues.


Nominate Featured Student Speaker

As the APIDA GALA is also a celebration of the accomplishments of our APIDA graduating class, the AACC is accepting nominations for Featured undergrad or grad student speakers. We are searching for student speakers who have the ability to give a positive, meaningful and inspirational address to the graduating class and their families. All faculty, staff, student organization leaders, and individual students are welcomed to nominate a graduating undergraduate or graduate student to be a featured speaker at the APIDA GALA.

After nominations are closed, nominees will be asked to complete a short online form affirming their interest in being the featured graduate speaker and outlining their speech for the GALA.

The nominations form is now closed.