Final-year sociology and drama studies student Juan Garrido was one of a select group of graduating York students honoured for their leadership, dedication, integrity and enthusiasm with two pan-university leadership awards: the Robert J. Tiffin Leadership Award, and the Alumni Golden GRADitude Award.

The awards were created to recognize current undergraduate and graduate students whose excellence and leadership has significantly contributed to York’s growth, development and vitality.

“I think the best part of being involved at Glendon was how tight-knit and diverse the community was. I was able to work with people from different backgrounds, which meant I learned so much about being a leader.”

According to his nominators, Garrido’s involvement is best defined by “his ability to initiate culture change through collaborative relationship-building” and by the “thoughtful, attentive, and personal way he leads and serves his community”:

  • As an elected Student Senator, he was pivotal in fostering Faculty-wide support to improve an academic program in need of refreshing.
  • As the co-coordinator for Glendon’s LGBTQ* association, he was a key player in building a remarkably large, supportive, and authentic LGBTQ* and ally community.
  • As a TEDxYorkU speaker in 2015, he shared his personal story to empower others to draw purpose from the most vulnerable aspects of their identities.
  • He also demonstrated a commitment to building other student leaders by facilitating workshops at three of Glendon’s Annual Student Leadership Conferences.
  • As an advocate of safe and inclusive communities, he facilitated a number of inclusivity workshops for Glendon’s student organizations.

During his tenure at Glendon, he has also worked as a Residence Life Special Projects Assistant, Residence Don, Peer Mentor Team Lead, Residence Peer Review Board member, student recruitment ambassador, and Glendon eAmbassador.

Jennifer Sipos-Smith, one of Garrido’s course directors, says, “In every instance, Juan initiates projects that build bridges between current students and broader community: leaving behind an improved student experience and more opportunities for future students as his legacy. In each role, he is a supportive, decisive and fair student leader, earning him one of the most coveted campus awards: the love and respect of his fellow students.”

“Mr. Garrido has been a role model for outgoing and emerging student leaders alike modelling the ability to perform at a very high capacity while learning to maintain his personal well-being—something that many student leaders struggle with. He has demonstrated that leadership is as much about self-development as it is about community development.” — David Ip Yam, Student Affairs Manager

After graduation, Juan is planning to continue his studies at the graduate level and has his sights set on a career in post-secondary education.