Robert Lemaire, a senior and president of BURG Peer Education Network at Frostburg State University, was awarded the 2016 BACCHUS Outstanding Student Award for his involvement with BURG’s numerous influential activities on campus to promote a healthy and safe environment.
Lemaire joined the organization in fall of 2012 as a freshman and has proven to be a dedicated member since. BURG is a group of peers who believe in empowering, educating and creating change among those peers and the entire community. BURG promotes healthy choices on campus and provides recreational alternatives to drinking and drugs. Lemaire, of Tilghman, Md., is a physics major and math minor with plans to pursue a career in aerospace after graduating in December 2017.
“It’s rewarding, even though you don’t get to see it right away,” Lemaire said when asked why he puts his efforts into BURG. “It’s kind of like running a marathon. As you go along, you just keep building up, and you get to the end, and you get to see that you finished, but you don’t always get to see all the lives you touched along the way.”
The BACCHUS Outstanding Student Award is given to five undergraduate students who are members of a recognized NASPA-BACCHUS Initiatives member peer education group. NASPA is a national organization for student affairs in higher education. BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA supports collegiate peer educators and advisors by empowering students and student affairs administrators to create healthy and safe campus environments. Students must be nominated for the award and are selected based on their contribution to campus peer education efforts, academic successes and leadership. Lemaire was nominated by Don Swogger, BURG’s faculty advisor.
Lemaire was recruited for BURG as an incoming freshman, participated in the first year leadership initiative and has served on the Lead Team his remaining four years. As a freshman, he received the Iron Man Award for his extreme dedication, commitment and work ethic. Now, as president of the organization, Lemaire understands, “that being a leader is not in a position or title, but the person’s character, integrity and honor,” said Swogger.
Lemaire’s involvement with BURG includes serving as the team photographer, providing technology assistance, attending almost every BURG event in his time at FSU and working with Upward Bound to help at-risk youth in the community. Last year, he was awarded the organization’s legacy award, which requires four years on the leadership team, a GPA of 3.0 or higher, 1,000 hours of service and Certified Peer Educator certification.
Lemaire said his experience with BURG will definitely benefit his career, citing “all the leadership experience, interpersonal skills, team-building skills, organizational skills and everything that’s helped me become who I am in this organization.”
“I can honestly say, Bobby has been my tireless champion,” Swogger said. “He has grown tremendously over the past five years, and he truly cares about the organization, and more importantly, the friends he has made in this organization.”
“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care,” Lemaire said.
For more information about FSU’s BURG Peer Education Network, call the S.A.F.E office at 301-687-4761.