By Gabrielle Wanneh
For The Diamondback

On Tuesday, the University of Maryland honored members of its faculty and staff, as well as community partners, for their service to this university and the surrounding area.

The Office of Community Engagement hosted its second annual "Making A Difference" Awards Celebration, an event to acknowledge those who have gone above and beyond on campus, said Gloria Aparicio Blackwell, the office's director.

"It's just a small token of appreciation to the community," Blackwell said.

Seven members of this university and two community members were honored during the ceremony. Larry Brookman, a facilities manager, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award. Brookman helped transform an old storage facility into the Center for Educational Partnership in Riverdale, Blackwell said.

The award recipients were chosen based on their involvement in programs that work on addressing public service issues, building relationships, providing resources and sharing knowledge, in order to benefit the community, Blackwell said.

Christopher Perez, an associate director in this university's Office of Graduate Diversity and Inclusion, was honored for his work in social media.

"I feel elated," Perez said. "It's a wonderful feeling to be recognized for something that you do that really plays a minor role in your everyday work. But it's a reminder that even though you think it's a little role, it has a much bigger impact to the people that you serve."

Another recipient, Bethany Swain, journalism college lecturer, was also recognized for her work on untold stories.

"In my classes, we like to tell stories that might not otherwise get told. It's something that we focus on," Swain said. "So we're thrilled that the campus community and the community at large is recognizing the role that our students and journalism can play in the community."

During the awards ceremony, senior Justan Randolph, an environmental science and technology major, was recognized for his work with Do Better UMD, a student group dedicated to social change.

"I'm really grateful that people recognize the groundwork that we put into making a difference," Randolph said.

Community members were also invited to take part in the event, and Evan Maffiore, the general manager of MilkBoy ArtHouse, said he attended the event to support this university and the College Park community.

"It's always important to point out individuals that are excelling in helping out their community," Maffiore said. "And anything that brings people together, especially nowadays, is just awesome."