Krystopher Panasewicz, of Southington, Conn., a junior interdisciplinary studies major in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, has won the Outstanding Undergraduate New Member Award at Virginia Tech.

The Outstanding New Member Award is one of 10 University Student Leadership Awards given annually by Virginia Tech's Department of Student Activities in the Division of Student Affairs to recognize outstanding members, extraordinary achievements by an organization, advisers, volunteerism, and service-learning experiences.

Panasewicz is a project leader for the YMCA Student Program Project Home Repair, which provides repair services for low-income and elderly residents of Montgomery County and the surrounding community. He has been an active volunteer with the program since the fall of 2003.

Local social service agencies and people in need of assistance submit home repair referrals. As one of the project leaders, Panasewicz must prioritize the work. He then surveys the site to assess the difficulty of the project and decide what materials are needed. He sets a date for the project to be completed and then plans it out, obtains the materials and finds volunteers for the job. It takes about a week from start to finish to plan a project. The project itself is completed on one weekend day. Repair projects range from large roofing or flooring jobs to smaller work such as weathering windows, painting, or repairing handrails.

Brittany Klemmer, assistant director of YMCA Student Programs, nominated Panasewicz for the Outstanding New Member award because of his hard work and initiative. "Chris did above and beyond what was required of him and took the initiative to get involved and take on responsibility," Klemmer said. "It was wonderful to see his desire to get involved and be part of the YMCA but more so to see his desire to help out in the community."

Panasewicz has learned that becoming a good leader is a process. "Leadership doesn't come in a couple of months or a semester. It comes from working with people for an extended period of time and being involved in the YMCA has helped me grow in that," Panasewicz said.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become the largest university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech's eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top 30 research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 170 academic degree programs.

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