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Susan Evans had an idea. An active member of BU’s Alumni Network of Energy Professionals, she was well aware of growing concerns related to energy efficiency—from climate change to reliance on fossil fuels. Why not invite innovators in energy-efficiency technology to discuss these issues—and offer some possible solutions? And why not make BU the venue? From that (fluorescent) lightbulb moment, The Future of Energy Efficiency: Technology and Strategies at the Forefront of Energy Efficiency was born. Held at BU’s Photonics Center in February 2012, the networking event featured industry leaders invited by Evans (GSM’81), including keynote speaker Mark Sylvia, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.

It’s this type of initiative and passion by members of the alumni community that prompted the Boston University Alumni Association to establish this year’s inaugural ALUMNI NETWORK AWARDS. The winners were honored at the Alumni Leadership Forum during Alumni Weekend in September 2012.

“The Network Awards are one way to recognize the excellence, enthusiasm, and creativity of our alumni networks and volunteers,” says Shadi Daher (SDM’90,’94), president of the BU Alumni Council. “They have truly set the bar very high and provided all of us with yet another reason to be proud BU alumni.”

Along with SUSAN EVANS, four other alumni shared ALUMNI VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR honors for their efforts to strengthen BU’s alumni network and raise the profile of the University.

YOUNG JAE HAN (GSM’79), who was the leader of BU’s Alumni Network of Korea and is a founder of BU Asia, has shown his dedication to BU for decades. His leadership role has been a model for other Asian networks, and his work in Korea has established the network as the strongest outside the United States.

CATHERINE SEIF (CAS’09), a leader of the Alumni Network of Washington, D.C., wears many hats. An advocate for young alumni in her network, she shows remarkable enthusiasm whether captaining alumni kickball teams or coordinating the area’s athletics watch parties.

PETER COCOLIS (ENG’64) is “the go-to alumni leader on Cape Cod,” noted Hannah Gathman (CAS’09, MET’12), former assistant director of programs and events at the Alumni Association, in her award nomination. Cocolis has been the driving force behind events such as the annual scholarship dinner.

CHRIS MCMULLEN (CAS’96) has been pivotal in the growth and development of EnCore, the alumni network of the CAS Core Curriculum. Bringing together Core alums and faculty each month to discuss important works in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, the Boston-based book group is the most active EnCore program.

In addition, several alumni groups, programs, and events were honored with awards.

Three alumni groups were recognized for their contributions as OUTSTANDING ALUMNI NETWORKS. The BU ALUMNI NETWORK OF WASHINGTON, D.C., led by SEIF, PAUL CHEN (COM’87), CHELSEY KELLY (SED’04), COURTNEY VANDER POEL (CAS’03), and MALCOLM HARDEN (CGS’91, SMG’93), coordinated more than a dozen events, including the Holiday Toy Drive and BU Alumni Day at Nationals Park. BOSTON UNIVERSITY ALUMNI ASSOCIATION OF THAILAND leaders SUBHAJATI ANGSUVARNSIRI (GSM’77), PONG SARASIN (SMG’51), and OPHAS KANCHANAVIJAYA (SMG’60) organized programs that included a golf fundraiser, a day of volunteering at a local orphanage, and a career networking event. The ALUMNI NETWORK OF CAPE COD & THE ISLANDS, led by COCOLIS, connected local alumni at several events, including a luncheon with state Senator Dan Wolf, the CapePOPS! holiday concert, and an annual scholarship dinner. The BAY AREA ALUMNI NETWORK received accolades for BEST COMMUNITY SERVICE OUTREACH. As part of the 2012 Global Day of Service, the group spearheaded several volunteer efforts, including one at the Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco, where volunteers led by ELLEE KOSS (CAS’73, GRS’77) installed vertical edible gardens to encourage healthful eating among guests.

Also recognized was SPECIAL OLYMPICS SPECIAL SMILES, an initiative of Healthy Athletes Special Smiles, which was founded in 1993 by STEVEN PERLMAN (SDM’76), a BU Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine adjunct clinical professor of pediatric dentistry, following a meeting with Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver. The initiative brought together more than 150 volunteers from area dental schools to assist young athletes participating in the Special Olympics Massachusetts Summer Games.

The BEST NETWORKING PROGRAM award recognizes meaningful, innovative events that connect members of the BU community; it was given to the ASIAN ALUMNI FESTIVAL. As the largest alumni gathering outside of the United States, the festival is a celebration of Asian culture and Terrier pride. Held in Taiwan, the event was led by JEAN LIU (SMG’77), HENRY HSU (GSM’03), and JACK HSIAO (CAS’97).

BEST NEW PROGRAM honors went to Evans’ The Future of Energy Efficiency event, as well as to the BIO 2012 BU ALUMNI & FRIENDS RECEPTION. Tied to the BIO International Convention, held in Boston, the reception brought more than 250 BU alumni from around the world to a networking event that showcased the work of 32 BU researchers and was led by the ALUMNI NETWORK FOR BIOTECHNOLOGY, featuring JULIE WISNIEWSKI (SPH’00) and MICHAEL GOLLIN (LAW’84).

BU’s EVENING WITH… series in Los Angeles was named BEST STUDENT ENGAGEMENT PROGRAM. A collaboration between the BOSTON UNIVERSITY ALUMNI NETWORK OF LOS ANGELES and the BUinLA Student Internship Program, it features a successful industry leader, often a BU alum.

Dentistry and ice cream aren’t a typical pairing, but an exception is made each year at the popular GSDM PREDOC ORIENTATION ICE CREAM SOCIAL, which also received BEST STUDENT ENGAGEMENT PROGRAM HONORS. Sponsored by CRAIG ALLEN (SDM’95) and his wife, NICOLE PAQUETTE (SDM’95), the gathering builds community among students, faculty, and alumni.