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Press Release for Monday, July 28, 2014

UNF Student Honored for Service at Summer Commencement

Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Director
Department of Public Relations
(904) 620-2102

The University of North Florida will honor one student with an outstanding record of volunteerism when it hands out nearly 780 degrees Friday, Aug. 1, during summer commencement at the UNF Arena, Building 34, on campus.

Hana Ashchi, who will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in communication, will be recognized as the recipient of the Senior Service Award, which is presented by the UNF Alumni Association to a graduating senior for outstanding volunteer service to the University or community. The award will be presented during the 10 a.m. ceremony.

Ashchi, a Southside resident, advocates and models interfaith cooperation and seeks to advance religious pluralism on campus, in our community and around the globe. She has worked with the UNF Interfaith Center to establish guidelines for creating a “safe space” for dialogue across different ideological frameworks, and in 2013, she was selected to mentor as an interfaith “coach” for the Youth Core, founded by White House advisor and former Rhodes Scholar Dr. Eboo Patel. Ashchi has led workshops and training events all over the United States, including the 2014 Atlanta Interfaith Leadership Institute.

She has had considerable involvement with the national “Better Together” campaign, where college students across the country organize peers from different religious and philosophical backgrounds to take action on key social issues in their communities. With the support of the UNF Interfaith Center and the Baha’i Community Center, Ashchi created and implemented a strategic marketing plan that promoted the screening of the film, “Education Under Fire,” which profiles the persecution of the Baha’i in Iran. The event drew numerous participants from across campus and the community.

She was awarded the Inspiring Action Award this past spring for her work with human trafficking, working with the Jacksonville organization, Rethreaded, whose primary goal is to help the community understand that human trafficking is a reality. Ashchi and her group hosted documentaries, informational sessions, art exhibits and text studies with many campus clubs and organizations. In 2012, she participated in the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, which addressed domestic poverty and human trafficking. Shortly after graduation, Ashchi will be participating in a service trip to India while attending the World Women’s Congress at the University of Hyderabad.

The ceremony for the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction as well as the College of Arts and Sciences will take place at 10 a.m., while the ceremony for the Brooks College of Health, College of Education and Human Services and the Coggin College of Business will begin at 2 p.m.

The University expects to award a total of 799 bachelor’s degrees, 161 master’s degrees and 7 doctorates this term. Including the summer 2014 graduates, UNF has issued a total of 65,144 bachelor’s degrees, 17,039 master’s degrees and 352 doctorates since first opening its doors in 1972.

UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.